Over the last century, it seems a million things have changed about how we do business. Trends have come and gone, from carrying briefcases and wearing power ties, to sending faxes and using a BlackBerry. However, one thing remains constant: people need to meet, and when they do, there’s no better place than a conference room. Below we’ve outlined the top 10 reasons we love conference rooms, and why they’re here to stay.
#1: Conference rooms are secret-keepers
If conference room walls could talk, they wouldn’t. Designed to keep confidential information and conversations behind closed doors, these rooms are an ideal space to take care of sensitive business, such as breakthrough ideas, new product launches, and other classified information. Unlike open meeting spaces, such as coffee shops and restaurants, a well-designed conference room gives you the ability to keep inside information inside.
#2: Conference rooms are collaboration stations
The best place to gather people to work on a business problem is in a well-equipped conference room. When you remove people from their individual workspaces or the abyss of an open-floor office and put them in a conference room, you physically unite a team of people. To ensure everyone is able to contribute to a problem-solving session, make sure your conference room is outfitted with tools that foster easy collaboration, such as big-screen TVs, an all-in-one video conferencing solution, and whiteboards for impromptu writing, drawing and more.
#3: Conference rooms create a connected culture
As more and more people choose to work remotely, conference rooms have become even more important in ensuring people are able to connect with each other in a dedicated space that allows them to work together toward common goals. Again, having great video-conferencing equipment that enables people to enjoy face-to-face interactions is essential to fostering quality connections between remote and onsite employees. You will also want to pay close attention to conference room and video conferencing audio because people connect best when they can easily see and hear each other.
#4: Conference rooms are mission launch-ads
I don’t know what the modern world did before weekly standup meetings, but I’m pretty certain it involved an obnoxious amount of emails. Thanks to the conference room’s accommodating space, it’s the go-to zone for teams and departments working on various projects to conduct quick status reports, share updates, and set weekly goals before heading back to their workspace to take care of business, or as Elvis used to say, “TCB, baby.”
#5: Conference rooms empower you to make a great impression
Like a custom suit, a conference room instantly conveys to clients, prospects and visitors your organization’s personality, level of success, attention to detail, and relevancy in the modern world. A well-designed conference room with state-of-the-art equipment and nice furnishings creates an atmosphere of welcome for guests and allows them to relax and place their confidence in you.
Conversely, a poorly designed conference room with tired furnishings and bulky legacy equipment sends a message, too. It says your company is not in touch with the modern world and folks should look elsewhere for solutions. If you feel your conference room needs an overhaul, consult an interior designer who specializes in office spaces, such as a consultant from Herman Miller.
#6: Conference rooms enable you to focus
Most offices today feature an open floor plan where people can see and interact with others at any time. However, these atmospheres can be tough places to maintain your focus when there are so many distractions. Thank heavens the conference room offers a quiet respite where you can concentrate on the business matters at hand without interruption or distractions. The enclosed space of a conference room enables you to talk and listen to others without struggling to overcome background noise. If you find your conference room is not as quiet as you would like, consider adding acoustic panels or other sound-proofing details to the room.
#7: Conference rooms are training-grounds for success
Ask any corporate trainer what their favorite space to conduct a class is and their answer will almost always be a conference room. A well-equipped conference room makes training individuals and teams a breeze because it offers trainers instant access to the tools they need to deliver a great presentation, whether they choose to show videos, share slides, or have an expert join the session via video-conferencing. In addition, gathering people around a table is a classical method of teaching that has been used since the days of Aristotle to foster discussion, idea exchanges, critical thinking and understanding between students and instructors.
#8: Conference rooms enable companies to move ahead
Every great meeting has on its agenda the goal of coming to a decision about what actions people in the company should take next. From choosing to go in a new direction, to beginning or ending a relationship with a client or vendor, to setting budgets, selecting teams, and more, the majority of decisions that are made in a company are made inside the four walls of a conference room. In short, the sacred ground of your company conference room is where decisions are made and problems are solved.
#9: Conference rooms are think tanks
There’s a palpable energy in a conference room when you bring people together to brainstorm ideas, innovations and solutions. Some companies dedicate entire conference rooms to the purpose of planning for the future, and will rename their conference rooms accordingly, calling them think tanks, war rooms, and innovation incubators. The trick to creating a great atmosphere for brainstorms is to stock a conference room with tools that foster creativity and allow energy to flow, such as video conferencing units, HD TVs, a rainbow of whiteboard markers, mobile furniture, and any other item that encourages people to connect and explore different perspectives.
#10: Conference rooms are your gateway to the future
Perhaps the most versatile room in an organization, a conference room is fast-becoming the number one space to conduct interviews of prospective employees. Thanks to great technology, like video-conferencing with screen sharing and user-friendly mobile apps, companies are no longer stuck paying big money to fly-in candidates for an interview only to find the person is not a good fit. Now, HR can expand their search pool, interview candidates face-to-face, and find the best person for the job without ever leaving the conference room. Bravo!