The design of meeting rooms and other office spaces affects employee’s ability to communicate, collaborate, create, and focus. In many industries where teamwork is essential to problem-solving and meeting deadlines, office designs are needed to encourage positive interactions between team members. Here are some of the new the trends in office design.
Many meeting spaces are intended as places for teams to exchange ideas and collaborate on projects. Everything from the lighting to the shape of the furniture influences how effective a meeting space will be. I am sure everyone is familiar with fluorescent lit, starkly designed conference rooms where productivity and creativity go to die. Today, designers are opting for meeting rooms on the perimeter of the offices to get natural light. If that cannot be done, designers are infusing more light into meeting spaces. Good lightning helps employees concentrate, improves energy levels and alertness, and enhances mood.
Furniture has a major impact on the atmosphere of a meeting space and how residents of the meeting room interact. If the space has a rectangular table, it will be harder for team members to have a collaborative dialog. If the table has a seat at the head of the table, it suggests a hierarchy, which can make employees feel less comfortable. A round table is more informal.
By allowing everyone to see each other, round tables make it easier for teams to collaborate and communicate with one another. Many companies are also adding more comfortable chairs to their meeting spaces. You want your team members to feel relaxed because it helps them access their creative problem solving and open up about their ideas.
Some firms area getting rid of the table and chairs all together, encouraging collaboration through pillows, carpets, and other creative designs.
Landings and Forums
Many organizations are incorporating landings into their design. A landing is an informal place employees can meet up before and after meetings to rehearse, ask questions, and wrap up discussions. Most landings feature a high table and stools or sofas. Landings encourage team members to socialize and interact with each other.
Forums are another important type of meeting space. Designed for discussions and presentations, forums usually have a focal point that provides the speaker with a comfortable spot to present. A forum needs good acoustics and lighting. A forum also needs visibility. Everyone in the audience sections needs to be able to see and hear the speaker clearly. Instead of lines of chairs, the trend now is to have chairs or sofas set up in a curve, which creates a more open and informal discussion space.
The plaza style of office design serves the purpose of bringing people together. Many companies are working to make more dynamic office spaces. Plazas are usually found in high traffic areas in an office and feature small tables, informal seating, and defined spaces as a way to encourage employees to socialize and share ideas.
The key is to have comfortable and versatile meetings spaces throughout an organization. This encourages people from different department to interact with one another, while creating a work environment that fosters collaboration and the creative exchange of ideas.
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