Meetings, meetings, meetings. They are unavoidable parts of the day for employees all over the world. And if the idea of adding one more meeting to your already hectic work week makes you twitch, you’re definitely not alone.
The Harvard Business Review recently surveyed 182 senior managers across a variety of industries and found that:
- 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient.
- 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.
There’s a general understanding that the way many of us are going about our meetings needs improvement. One of the first places to start is with your conference room design and technology.
Below are nine conference room design trends for 2023 that can help you better engage employees, so you can get the most out of every minute spent in a meeting.
1. Virtual Reality (VR) Design Capabilities
DGI now offers a room configuration tool so that users can see how a space looks and sounds before purchasing. You can build a room of any size and add equipment, furniture, and acoustical elements in an “a la carte” fashion to personalize the space. This allows a hands-on design experience and allows the end-user to see and understand the final product. Contact us for more information on this new capability.
2. Flexible Meeting Spaces
A large conference room is perfect for department check-ins or client meetings. However, these rooms are less than ideal for quick brainstorming sessions or one-on-one discussions.
With conference room shortages a major problem for many growing businesses, these larger-than-life meeting areas are often booked for small purposes, which is a waste of resources and leads to impersonal conversation.
To solve this dilemma, many businesses are opting for flexible, customizable conference room designs. But don’t worry — there’s no need to tear down drywall or install new beams. The flexibility comes with removable wall dividers, so you can break up one large conference room into two smaller meeting areas or merge several spaces together to fit a big group.
Make Sure to Strategize Your Layout
Wall dividers are a quick and easy solution for space expansion, but you’ll need to consider how acoustics, chair arrangements and furniture will factor into your layout.
For example, is a conference room table for a large room going to be feasible if you transform the space into two smaller meeting areas? If this is a concern, using several rows of tables will be more practical than a single conference table.
Thinking more about layouts, there are a variety of table and seating configurations you can explore. Maybe a U-shaped style will make presenting easier for a speaker. Or perhaps your room can fit more people if you use a classroom-style arrangement for your tables and chairs. However you decide to place your furniture, be sure that meeting attendees will be comfortable; that means ample elbow room, the ability to see and hear clearly and enough space to walk around if they need to.
3. LED Video Walls
Probably the most innovative type of display for any conference room design right now is an LED video wall.
LEDs were once considered the unicorn of the industry — they were hard to acquire and somewhat expensive. Fortunately, now they’re much more affordable so you can have the best display possible in any conference room or meeting area.
LED technology blows away any projector or monitor by displaying vibrant colors, from the brightest whites to the darkest blacks. The high-quality, sharp images look great from any angle, so all meeting attendees will have a clear picture of your presentation. In addition, LED video walls are low maintenance and energy efficient.
4. Interactive Whiteboards
Interactive whiteboards enable you to deliver more dynamic presentations, so you can have more productive meetings.
Combined with your video conferencing platform, you can:
- Annotate documents and photos
- Record meetings
- Save and email files in various formats
- Collaborate with team members across devices, offices and time zones
The interactivity keeps everyone engaged and the technology makes meetings run more efficiently.
5. Video Conferencing
The concept of working from home is here to stay, which has benefits for both employees and employers. However, meetings can become tricky in remote scenarios. Traditional phone calls might get the job done, but there’s no denying that face-to-face interactions can often result in more productive, collaborative conversations.
Since meetings will never be avoidable (sorry), video conferencing technology is a must-have for modern conference rooms around the world. Software programs like Zoom offer video conferencing, interactive whiteboarding and screen sharing so that all employees can make their meetings more efficient — whether they’re in the same room or different time zones.
One thing to note here is that the types of video conferencing equipment you’ll need — like cameras, speakers, microphones and so on — will depend on the size of your meeting rooms. And if you’re embracing flexible meeting room designs, precise placement of this equipment is going to be crucial.
6. The Future of Zoom Rooms
Zoom Room capabilities are constantly updating and evolving. Recent enhancements have included in-room attendee counting and chat messages that participants can view through the room display and room controller. Other new features include the ability to automatically start or end meetings based on the scheduled time and the ability to make outbound SIP/H.323 calls without additional licenses.
And that’s not all.
According to the company’s blog, users of Zoom Rooms and Google Meet are now able to join each other’s meetings without the need for additional equipment or subscriptions.
7. Crystal Clear Acoustics
Terrible acoustics can ruin any room, no matter how comfortable the furniture is or how impressive the wall art may be. For conference room design especially, the proper sound management can make or break the success of your meetings.
If your conference room or meeting space is intended for private conversations, there are sound absorption techniques that can provide all the discretion you need. Many people worry about installing ugly sound panels that clash with their décor, but acoustic art panels can be customized with images, brand colors, logos and other designs to keep your room unique to your company.
Check out the panels in the DGI music-inspired Fender conference room. They look like traditional wall art but they are actually acoustic panels!
8. Personalized Conference Rooms
Too many meeting areas are set up and lit like interrogation rooms. Empty white walls with harsh lighting aren’t welcoming or interesting, so getting everyone to focus and be creative is incredibly difficult in this type of environment.
Brainstorming conference room design ideas is your chance to channel your inner Joanna Gaines! Even adding small details to the design of your conference room can make a huge difference in the productivity of a meeting. Whether you add a colorful accent wall, custom-branded signage or an inspiring piece of wall art, your meeting area can transform from a dull four-walled room into an inspiring center of creativity.
Start by thinking of styles from your employees’ and clients’ points of view. Are they going to be excited to spend an hour inside four white walls with no windows and harsh lights beating down on them? Everyone will be much more comfortable and inspired to work with a little bit of design and personality.
Disclaimer: At the same time, don’t go crazy with the design of your conference rooms! Overdoing it can lead to distracted employees.
9. Green Meeting Spaces
With the right touches, your conference rooms can help decrease your company’s carbon footprint — everything from the type of lighting you use to the way you run your meetings makes a difference. Some steps you can take to make your conference rooms more eco-friendly include:
- Switching to LED lighting
- Holding paperless meetings
- Bringing in recycling bins
- Installing water refilling stations to eliminate the need for bottled water
Conference Room Setup & Layouts
The right conference room setup can make all the difference. You want to ensure attendees can see and hear each other, as well as the presenter (if there is one), and that the room is equipped with the right audio-visual equipment. Here are some important points to consider:
- Number of attendees
- Group interaction
- Attendance of a facilitator or moderator
- LED video wall or video conferencing capabilities
- Power supplies
For example, if your meeting requires a video conference and interactive whiteboards, consider a classroom or U-shape setup. In addition, certain conference room layouts are better suited for different-sized groups. Classroom and auditorium styles are ideal for larger groups, whereas boardroom and hollow square are appropriate for 20–30 people.
Check out The Ultimate Conference Room Setup Guide for 2023 for more information — including visuals on setup styles.
Where to Put Conference Rooms Around the Office
A conference room’s location within the building is just as important as its setup. When deciding where different meeting spaces should go on your office floor plan, it’s important to consider what each one will be used for.
If a room is meant for taking phone calls with clients, placing it in a more interior location makes for a more private environment with fewer distractions. Natural light promotes focus and productivity, so rooms that are intended to host presentation meetings or collaboration sessions are more suited to areas with outside-facing windows.
These aren’t the only considerations to factor into your planning. Other things to think about include:
- The shape of the room
Curved walls present increased challenges for mounting displays, so it’s best to choose spaces that have flat walls instead.
- Building materials
It’s crucial for meeting attendees to be able to hear each other clearly, and the type of material used to create a space will affect the quality of its acoustics.
Making sure your meeting room is set up in a way that meets the needs of all participants is essential.
We’re happy to provide consultative services to help you find a solution that fits both your needs and budget. From our knowledgeable sales team to our expert engineers, there’s a DGI team member ready to help you.
Contact us with any questions or to get started on increasing the productivity of your meetings!