Your conference room is crushing collaboration (and not in a good way)
Guest post by Lillian Veley, officerenew.com
“Let’s grab a room.”
And so begins the hunt for an open meeting space. A hunt that might feel like it takes longer than the meeting itself. Sure, a quick email or phone call gets the job done, but sometimes you just need face time. Space to think and strategize without distractions. Space to get to the point without a lot of back and forth. Space to connect and hopefully create bigger, better ideas.
What happens when we can’t find it?
Goodbye productivity, hello frustration. Competing for a single conference room unites people in their struggle, but this isn’t exactly the kind of teamwork they need.
Far from fictional, this scenario plays out across offices every day. Meeting spaces are either too few, too far or too hard to find. Some have ancient technology, poor sound-proofing, or they’re out in the open, which leaves even less room for privacy.
So what really makes a perfect meeting room? Volume, variety and tools that make work easier.
More volume and variety
For many years, offices had large, formal conference rooms and very few options for small get togethers. Now, as the workplace becomes more open and movement is more fluid, the need for casual collaboration has grown.
While many employees simply need “more” meeting space, different rooms serve different needs.
To find out what space would suit your people best, conduct several rounds of employee interviews and surveys to figure out what employees like– and don’t – about the current meeting spaces. How often are they meeting? With whom? For how long?
- If you find your people rarely need formal meeting space but are strapped to find places for small, informal team meetings, try adding more huddle rooms.
- If you have an open environment and your people are clamoring for privacy, they might need some small phone rooms.
- If you often entertain visitors and clients, make some rooms external-only.
Provide the right tools
Build space with technology in mind, but don’t overdo it.
Some rooms will need tricked-out solutions, while others won’t need more than a phone. Provide low-tech solutions, like flexible furnishings, white boards and pens, and high-tech ones that allow employees to collaborate in person and with off-site/mobile colleagues.
In advanced meeting rooms, select tools that simplify the steps it takes to get online and that work on every device. And while you’re at it, streamline the reservation process so that it syncs up with email and allows for in-person booking.
Ample space and intuitive tools will open up fresh ways to collaborate. And as you listen to your people and study workplace habits, you’ll find that the workspace and technology work best when designed together.
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The Interior Avenue Visionary Center is located at 2343 W. University Drive, Suite 103, Tempe, AZ 85281. Schedule a time to come in and see what we can do for your space. Contact us at (602) 361-5186