After about four months of attending meetings virtually from our homes, many people are looking forward to getting back to face-to-face collaboration. When we get back, it will be important to facilitate social interactions that foster team solidarity, creativity, and a positive company culture. The conference room is where deals are made, where innovative ideas are born, and where employees are trained. But those things are only possible when the conference room design matches the activities and purpose of that room.
Creating a large, rectangular room with a large, rectangular conference table in the middle and throwing in a whiteboard or projector isn’t the ideal conference room layout for every purpose. This layout works may have worked for training rooms or big company lunch presentation meetings, prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus. But it doesn’t meet all the needs of your company or your company’s individual teams and employees — especially in the post-pandemic workplace.
Here are some basic things every conference room needs to incorporate:
But let’s dig a little deeper and go over the common conference rooms most company offices have and what the design of each should consist of.
Purpose of room: Take phone calls, conduct virtual business meetings and smaller team meetings and meet with clients and stakeholders
Layout: You want a round or square table in the center with chairs around it and a screen on the wall by the head of the table.
Technology and furniture: Small table, desk chairs, conference room phone, TV, projector and projector screen
Purpose of room: Hold small brainstorming meetings; a place where employees unleash their creativity to effectively come up with innovative, money-making ideas
Layout: Opt for an open and comfortable layout that allows for mobility and interaction.
Technology and furniture needed: Whiteboard; comfortable seating, i.e. couches or modular sofas, bean bags, video game chairs and/or floor pillows; a small table and a couple chairs for people who want to sit at a table
Purpose of room: Train new and current employees on technology and processes
Layout: The ideal layout is a banquet style layout that seats attendees around an oval table that’s in the center of the room because it provides optimum communication and group interaction while also allowing the trainer to easily walk around the room and talk with each trainee.
Technology and furniture needed: Large conference table, several chairs, projector, flat screen TV or projector screen centered on the head wall, storage cabinet and some type of utility cart or skinny table to hold snacks
Purpose of room: Conduct whole company meetings
Layout: You could either do the theater style layout where seats are typically arranged in a semi-circular pattern so no attendee is blocking another’s view of the slides or speaker and is best for showing slide presentations and meetings that have speaker-audience interaction. Another option is the elegant hollow rectangle table layout, wonderful when you have a bigger room to work with, where the table is in the middle of the conference room with participants facing each other to encourage better face-to-face interaction.
Technology and furniture needed: Large TV at the front-center of the room, several linking chairs or a long rectangular desk and enough chairs to fit around it
Purpose of room: Place where employees can take a break from their desks and recharge or even where employees can have fun while brainstorming
Layout: You want a room that feels relaxing and fun. Add sporadic comfortable seating (some chairs in the corner, maybe a couch up against a wall), flat screen TV on one wall, a pool or ping pong table in the center and maybe a food and drink bar in one corner.
Technology and furniture needed: Large wall-mounted TV, video game console, a gaming table, couch, bar stools and comfortable modern seating
For some more creative inspiration, check out our blog post highlighting the awesome office designs of 3 top gaming companies.