Cool, calm and collected – how to transform your conference rooms into modern, inspirational spaces
Current research shows that most leaders spend half of their time in meetings and employees spend over a third of their time in meetings, so it stands to reason that the spaces people meet in should have both form and function. After all, if you’re going to spend up to 80 hours a month working in a space it should not only work for you, but inspire you, too. To help you transform your conference room into an urban nirvana of sleek modernity, we’ve gathered the top five conference room design trends you should consider incorporating into your meeting spaces in 2017.
Trend #1: Bring Nature Inside
Nothing inspires the mind quite like being engulfed in nature and biophilic design (bringing natural elements from the outdoors inside) is a trend that is expected to grow in popularity. In fact, research has shown that incorporating natural elements into employee environments has a positive impact on their performance and wellbeing. Whether you outfit your conference room with a reclaimed wood table, install a living wall of plants, incorporate a fireplace feature or a water-wall, adding natural elements to your conference room is a great way to encourage meeting attendees to relax, which reduces stress and enables them to be more creative. In addition, walls covered in plants, water or reclaimed wood provide great sound absorption which adds to the calm in the room.
Trend #2: Color Inside Your Space
Jeff Miller, the VP of design at Poppin, a commercial furniture store, and a veteran of Apple and Herman Miller, believes that when color is used to organize a work environment the people in that environment experience more organized and colorful thought patterns. Painting an accent wall is an easy and economical way to bring color into your conference room, but you can also choose colorful accessories to liven up a meeting space, from multi-colored glass whiteboards and chairs, to acoustic panels, tables and more. “We’re seeing more offices integrate pops of color in unexpected ways,” said Miller.
Before choosing colors, be sure to consider the mood they will inspire. According to Color Wheel Pro’s Psychology of Colors, here are a few of the thoughts and feelings that colors evoke in people:
- Black — Power, elegance and formality
- White — Safety, purity and cleanliness
- Blue — Trust, wisdom and confidence
- Red — Strength, power and determination
- Yellow – Happiness, intellect and energy
- Green – Growth; harmony and freshness
- Orange – Joy, energy, warmth
- Purple – Power, luxury and ambition
Trend #3: Integrate Technology Into Design
To ensure your conference room projects an aura of sophistication and polish, choose tables and furnishings with built-in power adapters, multi-media capabilities and wireless charging options. Furniture retail giant, Ikea has reportedly sold more than 10 million pieces of wireless charging furniture, such as tables, desks, lamps and pads in the last two years. By integrating employee technology needs into the design of your conference room, you add convenience and functionality to the space while simultaneously removing the clutter, chaos and safety hazard that a jumble of wires, cables and cords create. “Even a $30,000 conference table can look terrible if wires are not well concealed within the table,” says Scott Lesizza, principal at Workwell Partners.
As you survey your conference room and consider ways to remove wires from view, you may find it necessary to upgrade various pieces of technology, from video conferencing units and TV monitors, to projectors and more. For example, Highfive all-in-one HD video conferencing units feature a sleek, lightweight design that takes up minimal space while providing maximum capabilities such as wireless screen sharing and TV projection. A single Highfive unit in a meeting space can replace a bulky legacy AV solution, including projectors, cameras, speakers, etc.
Trend #4: Bring on the Acoustic Furniture
If your meeting space is in an open or semi-open area, such as a pod or huddle-room, acoustic furniture is a must. Smart and functional, acoustic furnishings come in all shapes and sizes including chairs, modular panels and freestanding pods or cocoons. A popular choice for offices that employ Millennials, acoustic furniture keeps the noise down and provides privacy, while allowing people to see one another and feel connected. “Millennials are collaborators, and they don’t like to isolate themselves,” said Marlyn Zucosky, IIDA, Partner and Director of Interior Design with JZA+D. “Providing more open places for informal meetings is a successful strategy,” said Zucosky. When you use acoustic furniture to absorb the hum of activity in a space, you create a calm that enables employees to engage each other without disturbing one another.
Trend #5: Maintain Flexibility
The nature of how we work and meet is changing and so should the spaces in which we perform these activities. Depending on the type and style of meetings taking place in a space (stand-ups, sit-downs, formal, impromptu, etc.) you will want to choose furnishing that allow you and your employees to get comfortable and collaborate in whatever way works best. Modular soft seats in a meeting space are great for accommodating large and small groups, and prevent fatigue during long meetings. Tables that can be adjusted for height and width allow people to stand, sit and gather more (or fewer) folks around the table. Choosing furnishings that can adapt to changing requirements ensures you get a greater ROI from your conference room design and that it will be functional for years to come.
Bonus Trend: High-End Video Conferencing Without the High Price
Great design with easy functionality is a trend that will never go out of style – and Highfive HD video conferencing units offer both in spades. Each sleek, all-in-one, video conferencing device delivers 007 good looks while equipping teams with the luxurious ease of connecting face-to-face whenever they wish. Featuring HD video and audio, Highfive has everything you and your team need for an immersive video experience. To make your meeting spaces look like a million dollars for a nominal price, give them all a Highfive.