Whether you’re hosting new clients, interviewing potential employees or hoping to sign the next big deal, there’s one place where the people you want to impress will make decisions about your business – and that’s the meeting room.
Your company reveals a huge amount about its culture and personality in the way it decorates, furnishes and sets out its meeting spaces.
From cutting edge or traditional to disruptive newcomer or established player, the impressions that people form when they see your meeting rooms can be pretty big.
If you haven’t viewed your physical environment as key to attracting target customers and the best employees, then now is a good time to start, with meeting spaces high on the list.
Here are three of the most popular kinds of meeting areas and what they can say about the companies inhabiting them:
Usually housing a huge table, office chairs and a big presentation screen, the boardroom continues to be the meeting space of choice for many businesses in the UK. Often projecting a more established, corporate image, these spaces are more likely to enable uninterrupted meetings, encourage people to arrive and leave at agreed times and create a sense of formality.
The downside may be that the boardroom inhibits creativity and encourages hierarchies rather than open dialogue. Those who are comfortable and familiar with this setting are more likely to be relaxed while newer or younger team members may not feel as able to express themselves. A boardroom can, however, be a great way of showing clients how important and respected they are and there are probably many customers likely to expect meetings here rather than in a more informal setting.
Arriving in the UK in greater numbers in recent years, pods and break out spaces have come hand in hand with the growth in open plan offices. With businesses increasingly reluctant to put up internal walls and create closed-in spaces, meeting pods help an open plan room retain its sense of space and openness.
These modular furniture systems are often easy to install and move, enabling businesses to flex their requirements. Offering comfortable seating, people can use these for break out sessions, quiet working or meetings. Because their furniture can be more informal, they are perceived as more relaxing by many employees and encourage more impromptu collaboration and conversation, while still creating a meeting environment. Some clients that have got to know the business and like to feel ‘part of the team’ may prefer to meet in these spaces than the more formal ones.
More businesses are starting to introduce meeting spaces that are closer in feel to a cafe, enabling people to meet and collaborate as easily and informally as possible. Likely to attract Millennials, tech and creative personalities, this type of meeting space encourages people to stay longer at work by delivering a sociable, leisure culture that they’d otherwise need to find out of work.
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