Communal meeting rooms within office buildings are handy for businesses to hold meetings amongst themselves, meetings with clients, or interviews. The design and what’s provided in these rooms are important in how functional and useful the rooms are.

Firstly, the room must be accessible for all, so disabled accessibility is highly important. Ensuring doorways allow for wheelchair use, and table space and height being easily adjustable are great things to factor into the design of this communal space.

The design of these spaces, in terms of layout and colour, is often kept minimal and simple in order to suit everyone. Within a single company, design can be as simple or adventurous as the company desires, however when sharing with other companies, possibly of a completely opposite field, the design is best to be kept more universal to suit all.  Many meeting rooms are monochrome to stick to the simplicity theme; however a touch of colour relevant to the office space provider’s brand may be included to add interest.

Many office space providers are likely to have branches across a number of different locales. The different office branches and locations may affect the design of the meeting rooms. For example for a worldwide office provider such as Regus, the branches in the UK may have a different design standard to the branches in Dubai or the USA, tying in with culture and surroundings in order to make the branches differ. As mentioned in our office branding post, location may also tie into design in that artwork or murals may be included to make the site unique in the chain.

Meeting rooms are also great as a contrast in space. Due to many offices taking on the open-plan design approach, a meeting room is essential for more private and confidential discussions, often being soundproofed and secluded away from the open plan office space.

The basic features of a communal meeting room, for the best functionality, are as follows:
  • A table of size, perhaps adjustable/expandable: table layouts vary, from U-shape, classroom, boardroom, to banquet and cabaret; whatever the layout, it’s important everyone is seen, heard and able to participate equally
  • A number of chairs, plus spares available: chairs should be comfortable and the room should be spacious – not cramped. It’s said that a comfortable environment encourages creativity, and so if those in the room are happy, then work is likely to be successful.
  • Power supplies, to plug in laptops/projectors for presentations etc.
  • Air-con/heating facilities to suit the location and season for comfort.
Again, standards may differ due to location; some may provide televisions or projectors, which some argue should be included in every communal meeting room, especially ones which charge a fee to hire out.

As a contrast to the conventional meeting room, many companies also take the informal approach. This could be using lunch/break areas as meeting spaces; around smaller lunch tables, benches, or even sofas or beanbags.  Moving away from the standard black and white meeting room may spark creativity due to the different, unconventional surroundings but it really depends on the company and worker’s preferences, as an informal setting won’t work for everyone.

People may find distractions if in a break area with other people present, or at their computer screen, so for those who aren’t so keen on being interrupted from their task at their desk having a designated meeting space away from a desk or kitchen area removes these distractions and may result in a more successful and focused workforce.

But then for those who find beanbags or food to be fuel for conversation, informal spaces work well as meeting spaces; again, it’s down to each company or individuals within a company and their preferred working techniques.

What’s important is that the room and design is effective in its purpose in allowing ideas to be shared and discussion to be cooperative and productive. A great meeting room is also likely to give a professional image to clients and visitors, which is obviously a great thing, likely to boost recommendations and therefore business, as well as reputation as a whole.   While large established companies may already have great meeting rooms in place, either of their own or communal ones available to them, smaller businesses are likely to find this information useful and applicable as a way to develop and grow their firm, in terms of meetings and discussion.

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry, with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.
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