3 New Conference Room Design Tips & Products From NeoCon 2017

Held annually in Chicago, NeoCon is hailed as the largest gathering of workplace experts in the world. Here, the leading commercial furniture engineers, interior designers, ergonomics experts, architects, innovators, and other movers and shakers come together to debut products and reveal trends they believe will impact the productivity, profitability and future of the modern workplace. Below, we’ve gathered several exciting conference room tips and products you can implement now to create a more inspiring atmosphere at your workplace.

Tip #1: Be Accommodating

NeoCon’s 2017 keynote speaker, Ariana Huffington, recently launched Thrive Global, a site committed to helping people be more productive by promoting well-being. Of course, remote working has become an integral part of creating balance in the lives of employees, and Thrive recommends companies accommodate the growing swell of remote workers by rethinking how they use their office space. Corroborating their recommendation is a new Gallup survey that found, “43 percent of Americans did some or all of their work from home in 2016 compared to 39 percent in 2012. In the same time period, the amount of people who only worked remotely jumped from 15 percent to 20 percent.”

What does this mean for the conference room? As a Herman Miller study revealed, companies are replacing traditional large conference room spaces that seat 10 to 12 people with more intimate conferencing spaces that seat 5 to 7 people. While these spaces may be smaller in size, they are big on style and technology, and feature big screens and easy-to-use video conferencing tech, like Highfive, which empowers employees to engage in the kind of face-to-face collaborations essential to building connected and cohesive teams. In setting your conference room up for success, Dell’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Steve Price recommends companies be fully committed to doing digital communication well, and invest in the right technology to avoid morale and engagement issues.

Tip # 2: Inspire a Movement

Loads of business articles have purported that “sitting is the new smoking” and the furniture experts at NeoCon have responded to the impending threat of desk-dependent sedentary lifestyles with an array of exciting new developments for the conference room that encourage natural movement during meetings. A few or our favorite conference room trends include:

  1. Mobile, Height-Adjustable Tables – These versatile workhorses are beautiful, functional, invite creativity, and equip meeting attendees with the freedom to move about as they collaborate with various team members.
  2. Conference Swing Table – Cutting-edge design firm, Duffy London, has created a conference room table so engaging, meeting attendees will quite literally be swept off their feet and inspired to think differently.
  3. Configurable Seating – Available in a full spectrum of colors, linkable and configurable seats are versatile, artistic, comfortable, and enable conference room attendees to connect and arrange seats in endless combinations.

Swing Table from Duffy London

Tip #3: Keep It Private

Just because a conference space is part of an open plan, it doesn’t mean the ideas, conversations and innovations developed within the space should be open to all. Among the many new high-design items featured at NeoCon 2017 were several fresh approaches to acoustic control, including:

  1. Mobile or Hanging Acoustic Walls – These partitions are available in both clear and opaque glass, as well as metal, wood, whiteboard and other materials that reflect an office’s design aesthetic. Felt options are easy to hang and can be die-cut with cool custom designs.
  2. Acoustic Flaps – Flaps can be used as both a design element and to add color to a conference room. Snow Sound USA created several flap designs that are both stylish and functional. They can be arranged on ceilings and walls, or featured as a sound-absorbing, lightweight, free-standing mobile totem.
  3. Acoustic Clouds  This is an area of acoustic design that has exploded in creative potential and led to some amazing office spaces that can’t help but spark innovation and lofty thinking.

Acoustic Flaps from Snow Sound USA

Bonus Trend: Enjoy the Luxury of Simplicity

Great design with intuitive functionality is always in style, and Highfive HD video conferencing units deliver both form and function. Each lightweight, all-in-one, device features sleek simplicity, and equips teams with the ability to effortlessly share slides, deliver presentations, and connect face-to-face anytime, anywhere. A sharp and clear feast for the senses, Highfive boasts HD video and audio, ensuring your team is able to engage in dynamic and immersive video experiences every time. To make your conference spaces look like a trendsetting hotspot, give them all a Highfive.

By Sara Moseley