Many workers have returned to the office since the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that doesn’t mean they’re comfortable getting squished into meetings for hours at a time — even if those meetings are held in modern conference rooms with coffee and donuts.
To add insult to injury, 61% of employees claim they attend more meetings now than before the pandemic. Ouch.
So, if we’re going to spend more time in meetings, shouldn’t we make conference rooms more modern and comfortable?
This article will discuss conference room design ideas to modernize traditional conference rooms for today’s hybrid office. We’ll also provide 6 tips for creating inclusive, collaborative spaces for your in-person and virtual meetings.
Here’s everything this article will cover about creating modern conference rooms:
Times have changed. A survey of 25,000 US employees showed that 58% work from home once a week, while 35% have a full-time work-from-home arrangement. That’s a lot of people working from home — and a lot of wasted desk space.
As if that’s not enough, 51% of employees support a hybrid work setup.
Unfortunately, many conference rooms aren’t built for hybrid meetings — meetings in which some employees attend in the physical office and others attend virtually.
Workplace meetings have increased by almost 70% since the start of the pandemic in 2020. That being said, small, collaborative, and ad-hoc brainstorming sessions are rising, in particular, while huge all-hands-on-deck meetings are declining.
Microsoft corroborates this fact with a 22% spike in 30-minute meetings among their employees.
Unfortunately, many companies don’t have smaller meeting rooms to accommodate groups of only a few people. So, these individuals often book the larger meeting rooms, edging out the bigger groups that actually need the space.
Modern conference rooms should be designed for the size of the groups using them and for their intended purpose.
For example, training rooms or video conference rooms could include interactive whiteboards and a classroom-style desk layout. Team rooms, on the other hand, could benefit from having either a U-shaped table or a circular table to promote equality and collaboration.
It’s not just about the furniture, though. Consider the following different styles and sizes modern conference rooms can come in:
Sometimes called calling booths or phone booths, 1-on-1 meeting rooms are perfect for huddles, coaching sessions, or private phone calls with clients.
1-on-1 meeting rooms can be a welcome addition to open-office layouts, providing a quiet, private space where employees can make personal phone calls or put the finishing touches on an important project.
Calling booths are small — usually 25 to 50 square feet — and they only have two chairs and a small table.
It’s a good idea to limit calling booth usage to 30 minutes to an hour at a time to keep employees from taking advantage of this resource.
Team rooms are a tad larger than calling booths but are still designed to provide a cozy, collaborative vibe between employees. Think of it as a tiny conference room perfect for four to eight people — or up to 10 if some of them are standing.
Team rooms are perfect for daily stand-ups or focused brainstorming sessions.
As the largest of the three options, conference rooms are designed for big events, like departmental meetings or major client presentations.
A conference room is built for 10 to 20 people and fitted with a large conference table plus movable chairs, whiteboards, and a projector for presentations.
It’s also common to furnish this room with buffet counters or some side tables to give attendees easy access to snacks and refreshments during longer meetings.
When you furnish these rooms, choose an interior design style that communicates your brand values while also subtly displaying your achievements.
Let’s discuss six different ways to create modern conference rooms that work for a hybrid work setup.
Good acoustic design depends on the room’s main function.
If you have a hybrid workplace, not everyone will be attending your meetings in person. So, your IT department should outfit the room with cameras, speakers, and microphones in strategic locations. That way, the remote participants can hear and see everything that’s going on.
In huddle spaces, having good acoustics means using sound-proofing elements so people outside won’t hear your conversations.
If you’re worried about how sound panels will look on your wall, try an eco-friendly living green wall or acoustic art panels.
A green wall is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it can also reduce noise levels by up to 15 decibels. If you go the acoustic art panel route, you can even customize the panels to match your brand colors.
Huge conference tables and meeting rooms look great, but they’re not practical unless you use them frequently.
If you don’t, don’t worry — there’s no need to start tearing down drywall just yet.
Easily maximize your space by opting for a flexible office layout and modular furniture. You can also use wall dividers to divide the space into two smaller meeting rooms.
To learn more about flexible office spaces, check out our article: The Future of Work: Your Ultimate Guide to Flex Office Space in 2023.
As for furniture, modular, two-seater tables can be grouped to form one big, 12-seater conference table.
Using ergonomic furniture will also go a long way in boosting employee productivity throughout long meetings. You don’t want your workers leaving long brainstorming sessions with back aches.
In addition to being handy for those who prefer standing up while working, standing desks are also great for wheelchair users since those individuals can adjust the height to suit their wheelchair’s size.
Invest in lockable wheeled tables, too. These make it easy to change a room’s layout and are simple to use for the differently abled.
Plain white walls with harsh lighting don’t do much to welcome people or amp up their creative juices.
You can easily remedy this by choosing appropriate art pieces and decor to energize the space or by picking specific themes to design and differentiate your meeting rooms.
Another way to make a conference room more inviting is by picking a theme and designing the room around it. You can even brainstorm meeting room names with employees to get them excited and ensure you end up with a meeting room you’ll all love.
Meeting room names like “Inspiration Island” or “The Dream Room,” for example, will fuel creativity faster than “Meeting Room 1” and its sterile white walls.
To make the prospect of attending a meeting more inviting, check out our article: 400+ Catchy Meeting Names To Boost Employee Engagement.
With more people working remotely than ever before, employers must work to ensure their remote employees remain engaged.
No one enjoys meetings without good visual aids, and smart conference rooms make it a lot easier for participants to visualize and share important talking points.
With the latest video conferencing technology and collaborative whiteboards, smart conference rooms help to make meetings more engaging and collaborative for everyone involved.
Here are some tools and equipment you can add to your modern conference rooms to help keep your remote and hybrid employees engaged during meetings:
If you have a flexible meeting room design, make sure your web cameras and conference phones are mobile, too.
All the improvements you’ve made to create modern conference rooms will be for nothing if people can’t find them.
For example, OfficeRnD’s hybrid work software makes it easy for employees to find and book meeting rooms. It also tracks when hybrid employees come in so that your workers can choose the perfect time to set up in-person meetings with anyone.
Check out the video below to learn more about the problems that hybrid work software solves.
And here’s why you need conference room booking software.
Here are some general sizing guidelines to help you create a modern conference room that’s comfortable for all in-person attendees.
|1 – 2 people||25 – 50 square feet|
|3 – 6 people||100 – 150 square feet|
|7 – 9 people||150 – 200 square feet|
|10 – 20+ people||300 – 500+ square feet|
Not sure how frequently your employees use each type of conference room in your office? With OfficeRnD’s advanced utilization analytics, you can analyze data for your teams’ meeting room usage and help you decide on the optimal size and layout of your meeting rooms.
Many offices have outdated conference rooms. Fortunately, that issue is easily remedied with a few changes, including a modular layout and furniture, hybrid work technology, art, and other accents.
As more companies continue switching to a hybrid setup, it’s time for stuffy, cramped meeting rooms to be refreshed into more modern conference rooms.
See how you can elevate your team’s work environment with powerful hybrid work software like OfficeRnD Hybrid!.
A modern conference room should have web cameras, an online whiteboard, a projector, and speakers so that even remote attendees can participate.
Modernize a conference room with hybrid-work technology, good acoustics, and modular furniture that optimizes the space.
Conference room technology refers to items that help people collaborate effectively during meetings, including interactive whiteboards and web cameras.
Good modern conference rooms are built for a specific purpose. For instance, calling booths are meant for 1-1 meetings, and idea rooms can be used for a group of four to six.
Hybrid modern conference rooms give both in-person and remote attendees the tools they need to actively participate in meetings.
A Smart Conference Room integrates advanced technology to facilitate seamless communication, collaboration, and automation in meeting spaces. It often features tools like interactive displays, voice recognition, and IoT devices, enhancing the efficiency and productivity of meetings.
A meeting room is a space designed for smaller gatherings or discussions, often with basic amenities. In contrast, a conference room is typically larger, equipped with advanced technology, and intended for formal presentations or discussions involving more participants.
To make a conference room look nice, prioritize a clean, clutter-free space, incorporate aesthetically pleasing furniture and decor, and ensure optimal lighting. Additionally, integrating technology seamlessly and adding greenery can enhance the room’s ambiance and functionality.
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