How to Design and Equip a Best-in-Class Conference Room
As you begin setting up an office, you need to make sure that your conference room is properly equipped to handle your clients, employees and members. The conference room design is essential, as members or employees will spend a great deal of time there, so you want it to promote productivity. You also want the room to give off a positive impression, with the best conference room technology and comfortable furniture. Keep the following tips in mind when designing and equipping your conference room.
Include Security via Access Control
The conference room design should include the ability to control access to the space. This can be as simple as a lock on the door with the key held by a receptionist, who lets people in when their reserved time arrives. You can also opt for a more tech-savvy access solution, such as an electronic lock that provides access via a mobile application for those with reservations—this will fully automate the space.
Cloud-based access control solutions can allow shared workspace owners the opportunity to charge an hourly rate for conference rooms with no (often awkward) intervention from the staff. Anyone can book the conference room if it’s available through the member management app, then an access control solution, like Kisi, integrates with these apps to allow access to the meeting room or the facility at the time it’s been reserved.
Workspace consultant, Karen Condi, uses Kisi to manage her meeting rooms:
“We’re able to have people book their meeting rooms and they can use the app to access the doors, and they don’t have to rely on a team member.” Condi sees members book rooms during after hours, too.
“Meeting space revenue is a high dollar line on our P&L reports each month,” she says. “Before the door integration we couldn't track that revenue and it wasn’t easy for people to do business with us.”
Consider Client Needs When Choosing the Layout
There are many potential layouts for a conference room, including a large board table, a U-style table, and more. To figure out what works best for your space, think about how it will likely be used. If the conference room will only be used for presentations, then rows of seats and a podium will work. If there will be more interactive meetings, make sure everyone has workspace and can see each other. Always ensure there is enough space for people to walk around. The ideal layout will include furniture that is flexible and can be easily moved based on client needs.
Choose the Right Technology
Conference rooms should already have some basic equipment inside, and you want to include the best conference room technology. At the bare minimum, this should include an overhead projector, but you may also want to include a computer, so those who reserve the space can just bring a USB drive or disk. Figure out what other technology you should include, such as a printer, cables, speakers, speaker mounts, and remote controls. Also include some options that are less technological, such as a whiteboard and markers.
Provide Extra Amenities
During a meeting, clients and employees will want to focus on the task at hand, so try to include some extra amenities that prevent the need to leave the room. One example would be a fridge with some water bottles and a small basket of snacks. Make it a point to always replenish these before a meeting. You may also want to include mini-cabinets, so guests can store belongings. Don’t forget a garbage can, either, and consider adding a few pads of paper and some pens.
Setting the Lighting
The lighting design of your conference room is also crucial, particularly if you set it up to allow for video conferencing. Some spaces make the mistake of choosing overpowering lighting. Instead, allow for natural lighting but include blinds on the windows. Try minimizing interior lighting or making it adjustable, and opt for bulbs that do not emit a great deal of heat. Wellness-oriented coworking spaces provide good examples of eco-lighting that maximizes productivity and overall well-being.
Example Conference Rooms
To see how to apply these tips in the real world, take a look at Regus, one of the leaders in the coworking industry. It has several conference room designs, depending on the intended purpose. It offers security, high-speed internet, and a fully equipped space, so those who use the room don’t have to bring extras.