Top tips for creating Office Meeting Spaces & Informal Workspaces
Did you know that we spend an average 37% of each day sitting in meetings in the workplace. . . that’s a lot of time!
One bland looking conference room with a large table, uncomfortable chairs and white walls no longer cuts it in a modern open office space.
The go-to strategy is to match the energy in the workplace. That’s why it’s important to make sure your meeting spaces are designed to fulfil the needs of both your employees and clients.
Handy hints to creating meeting rooms & spaces
We’ve put together some top tips on how decide on what meeting space might work for you and how to transform your office with well-designed, practical spaces that will increase productivity and satisfaction in the workplace.
1. Consider what your employees need from a meeting room or workspace?
First things first. . . understanding the type of work happening throughout the workforce is critical and so find out what your employees need. Things to consider are:
- a quiet space for an informal team meeting
- a corner to concentrate and get more work done
- a strategic presentation with external clients
- an off screen reading space
- to make a call in a little privacy
- an informal work area or hot desking
Your meeting and workspaces need to support your employee needs and meeting styles. One room no longer fits all!
2. What kind of meeting space might work for you?B
‘Let’s grab a room’ . . . there are times when a quick email or a phone call will suffice, but sometimes you just need to be one-on-one to think and strategise without distractions.
Open floor plans have become increasingly popular in modern office design but there is still a need for a bit of privacy. Quiet breakout spaces or small huddle rooms that utilise partitions and acoustic wall panels will help to kill noise and give a flexible way to create meeting spaces within an open plan office.
Meeting booths and pods
If you have the space, a small meeting room would be ideal, but meeting booths and pods are perfect alternatives for collaborative working; the pods use acoustic material to help reduce noise and create a comfortable working environment.
Maybe a stylish office acoustic booth to eliminate the noise levels when everyone is yammering on the phone at the same time.
These acoustic, self contained meeting modules come in a range of sizes with upholstered internal panels. Some ‘closed’ options have doors and include power, USB blocks, air circulation systems and lighting.
Small Meeting and Conference Rooms
Or, for more of a brainstorming session or ‘blue sky thinking’ with a small group of colleagues a small meeting room; somewhere a bit bigger to insight creativity.
For more important meetings with clients and external visitors, a conference room can drastically improve the effectiveness of your meetings.
Your meeting room needs to act as a multi-functional, creative hub that serves all requests together with being both practical and professional.
3. The Importance of Colour in your Office Meeting Space
Studies have found that bland colours (whites, greys, beiges) induce feelings of sadness and depression for those workers stuck inside all day. . . but there are better options.
The great Picasso once quoted ‘Colours, like features follow the changes of the emotions’
Take inspiration from your brand
Your brand plays a huge role and brand colours have the powerful ability to connect people. So depending on what your brand represents, calm colours like blues and greens will promote productivity, focus and relaxation in the workplace; generally colours that are found in nature promote an overall sense of well-being.
Shades of optimism to trigger creativity and innovation are largely cheerful colours such as yellows – great for the creatives of your office! Particularly effective in areas designed for collaboration
Bright colours to white
Used sparingly, other bright colours, such as shades of red is an interesting choice and has been shown to foster efficiency, increase heart rate and invoke passion. It shouldn’t be used in vast spaces though and is more commonly used in breakout spaces and smaller meeting rooms.
White is a good colour to make smaller spaces look larger, but can make everything look a bit sterile so use sparingly.
Colour… not just on the walls
People are wired differently so different colours will affect people in very different ways. For this reason balance is the key; don’t just look at the colour of the walls but also consider injecting colour through office furniture, the ceiling, flooring/carpets and natural surfaces such as rustic benches or creating textures with living walls.
Even incorporating office art can have a beneficial impact.
4. Focus on Office Furniture
You’ve sorted the colours, now focus on furniture.
Choose pieces that are versatile enough to be used for informal spaces but comfortable enough for long stretches of sitting. Avoid running up against the clock when guests start squirming in their seats in discomfort – this is the point you know their focus is elsewhere!
There are many factors to take into account when choosing furniture for your meeting spaces, not to mention the myriad of styles and types available. Getting the right furniture can be crucial to maximising space.
Tables – a vast range of options
Round tables, high tables, low tables, folding tables. . . the choices are vast! Here are some things to consider:
- Ideal for a breakout space or informal chat, a high table with high chairs encourage short meetings or better still, leave out the chairs altogether!
- A round table in a meeting room will generally encourage a discussion and make it easier to share knowledge, make plans and have an equal standing. Depending on the type and design, a round table can also be mixed with square units and converted into a large long table for more formal conference-type meetings.
- Folding tables can be perfect for a presentation one moment and ready for a breakout session the next.
- Desks with built-in meeting tables – a real space saver and with appropriate use of screens/partitions you can create a small meeting space even in an open plan office.
- Additionally, think about power and power access. Does the table need to have power access or charging outlets for mobile devices?
Chairs – comfort & durability
Comfort and durability is key when it comes to choosing chairs for a more formal meeting space. That’s because when employees and clients come together you want them to be able to focus, resist distractions and be productive.
- Ergonomic seating encourages proper posture and can help people stay focused; chairs that can be adjusted to fit different body types and sizes would be ideal.
- Also consider aesthetics, durability and manoeuvrability; chairs that fit your office style and branding, in quality materials that will stand the test of time and can move around the room freely.
- Opting for lounge chairs for smaller meeting spaces invites a more intimate feel.
- For larger meetings, consider high quality seating that’s upholstered and padded for comfort. and maybe stackable for easy storage and multipurpose for use in other areas of your office.
Storage – keeping your Office Space organised & tidy
Beyond choosing the right table and chairs for your meeting spaces, there are some other crucial considerations.
- Even the smallest space can get messy, but to keep things tidy there are lots of options to store store stationery, equipment and unsightly cables.
- Utilise the wall space in a large meeting room to store important meeting supplies such as pads, pencils, AV equipment, refreshments etc. with a Wallspace storage system.
- A wall backing system would suit a conference room space or room divider option for your more informal breakout spaces to keep things tidy and locked out of view.
- There’s even cable management systems for power and communications hidden discreetly via base plinths.
5. Office Designs for Technology
How ever did we cope in the days before digital and mobile? As our world becomes increasingly dependent on technology, some core audiovisual equipment is now key to include in your meeting and workspace furniture.
- Not every space will need a full quota of tech capabilities. Bigger meeting rooms will inevitably require AV equipment, so designing around this will be a big priority in terms of furniture.
- Smaller breakout rooms might only require wireless connections so the design will be much more simple and may only require soft seating and a coffee table.
- Some spaces might just need a traditional whiteboard and marker, other spaces might require advanced teleconferencing tools such as high quality cameras and microphones.
6. Shedding some Light
Understanding the purpose of your meeting space is crucial for deciding on lighting requirements.
- Excessively soft lighting might result in participants dozing off. Equally, harsh lighting might not be favourable for reading or viewing screens.
- Large boardrooms might require more brightness, and rooms with projectors might require dimming lights.
- Also worth considering is the location of your meeting space. Areas situated by windows will automatically benefit from natural light but it might be a good idea to be prepared for strong sunlight by reducing light with the use of blinds.
- Areas without any natural light at all, such as lower ground floor workspaces could utilise tuneable white lighting systems that simulate the movement of colour temperature of daylight, based on the time of day and the season.
Creating your perfect meeting space
These handy hints will hopefully get you thinking about what you and your team need to make a better working environment. There are a lot of options but don’t be overwhelmed, it is always good to have to have options!
We specialise in transforming office interiors, making the most of what space you have. Our expertise combined with our CAD office design process will ensure that you have the best layout before a penny is spent.
Why not get in touch to see how we can help you…
Office fit out & refurbishment experts
Since 2002 Source One have been working with business across the UK on fit-out and refurbishment projects of all sizes.
We work with a wide range of business including offices, commercial, retail, education (schools & colleges), health (surgeries etc).
Or contact us on 08456 031 585.