The very idea of what constitutes a suitable meeting space is evolving. In the past, the typical meeting space included a conference table surrounded by chairs with a whiteboard or video display of some kind at one end of a large room. This conference-room-style meeting space drove the typical domineering meeting style we’ve all seen in the past – one person speaking or presenting information while the rest of the attendees sat quietly and listened. The model of hour-long, presentation-style meetings has proven to be ineffective and detrimental to office productivity as it drives overall employee disengagement and dissatisfaction.
Harvard Business Review surveyed 182 senior managers in a range of industries: 65% said meetings keep them from completing their work. 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking. 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.
Thanks to research into the science of meetings, we have a much clearer picture into how the environment in which meetings take place can have significant effects on participant engagement which, in turns, drives overall employee happiness and productivity. Even the shape of your conference room table can predict the level of meeting participation.
Traditional Meeting Space Design Disrupts Productivity
Because the conventional conference room is designed for a one-to-many meeting type, it forces teams to rearrange the space for more collaborative meeting needs. The time used to move chairs, tables and connect/disconnect from the tech in the room takes valuable time away from productive discussions. Even worse, many large conference rooms go unused altogether because they don’t suit the use case–costing companies millions of dollars in unused square footage.
Today, more and more meetings focus on an outcome and decision-making over just presentation and information sharing. Meeting participants are expected to actively participate and share information throughout a meeting which can be difficult when the room is not set up to support this use case.
How to Determine Usage Limitations in Your Meeting Spaces
It’s time to design meeting spaces for the way that people are working. Instead of people adapting the area, the space needs to adapt to the people’s needs. Understanding the types of meetings your teams are having, in and out of the meeting room, is the first step towards understanding how to set up a space that works for everyone. Our meeting room monitoring and analytics tool, Solstice Cloud, helps you analyze meeting room usage including peak hours, most used rooms, average meeting length, and more. This data can assist in planning and creating meeting spaces that enhance creativity, innovation, and collaboration among your teams.
What Defines the Modern Meeting Space
Meetings must be focused yet adaptable, dynamic and inclusive, and, most importantly, enjoyable to be useful and productive. Three major factors contribute to the productivity achieved in a modern meeting space:
Appropriate size. Space will only get used to its full potential if it meets the needs of proper use cases. Since meetings are moving away from large, presentation-style gatherings to smaller groups brainstorming and making actionable decisions, your meeting spaces should adapt to serve the needs of smaller groups better. Check out our recommendations on how to transform an unused conference room into multiple huddle spaces.
Modular design. Creating a meeting space that can be quickly changed and adapted will help users create the space they need when they need it. Easily versatile spaces can inspire innovation and collaboration without impeding on the meeting flow.
Easy-to-use technology. The chances are good that your team walks into a meeting with their smartphone, tablet, or laptop in hand. Let them put that tech to work. The meeting space must include technology that allows them to seamlessly share their screens and content with the group from their device of choice. Wireless sharing solutions like Mersive’s Solstice Podenables meeting participants to share video, audio, data, and more on a display easily from their own devices. Solstice allows any number of users to seamlessly share any amount of content simultaneously.