By Kacey Bradley
Gone are the days where a meeting space featured a table and a set of chairs. Modern companies are looking for ways to offer comfort to employees in a way that is both stylish and functional.
The five ideas below can create happy workers more prone to feeling creative and inspired. Whether you want employees to feel at home or able to focus, choose a meeting space style that’s conducive to your desired outcome.
1. Aromatic Room Accents
Smell is one of the strongest human senses, with smell receptors in the nose that communicate to the same part of the brain where memories are stored. A unique piece of décor paired with a pleasant aroma might not come to mind when planning a corporate meeting. However, certain scents have been proven to boost mood and productivity, ideal for workplace collaboration.
Studies show the right essential oils, paired with ultrasonic diffusers, can result in high-functioning creativity. Lemon, a scent with universal appeal, raises the levels of norepinephrine in the brain, a chemical linked to increased motivation and easier decision-making. One study revealed rosemary stimulates the mind and memory, improving speed and accuracy on demanding mental tasks.
2. Multi-Functional Furniture
Any furniture you add to a meeting space is taking up valuable real estate. Get the most out of each room by investing in multi-functional furniture. Look for pieces that offer a combination of comfort, style and practicality. No matter how digital your workspace is, remember easy-to-access storage is a must. Consider how you want to conceal items, and choose pieces that coordinate with one another.
Add a floor lamp with shelving that can brighten your meetings and offer space for books, pencils, tissue boxes and other essentials. Invest in retractable tables that can fold into wall mirrors when you need more space. Or choose a cubby bookshelf that’s secretly a table and chairs. Employees at Entrepreneur, a small business magazine, have access to desks that move up-and-down, ideal for getting the blood pumping.
3. Versatile Lounge Areas
Workers desire comfortable meeting spaces with multi-use lounge areas. Lounge furniture should be stylish, comfortable and durable. The right type of furniture will be the proper size for the space, allowing enough room for people to move about and mingle. It should also be functional, so workers can rearrange it to suit their needs.
The Quicken Loans headquarters in Detroit uses Bob Lounge Chairs, which offer built-in personal tables. Grand Valley State University uses the Await Lounge System — contemporary seating that can fold into table space — to hold impromptu conferences. And DirecTV in California has a Digital Innovation Lab complete with furniture like the Hosu Lounge, a versatile seating system.
4. Outdoor Scenery
Adding a taste of the outdoors to your corporate meeting space can have a lot of benefits. Staff will feel more energetic and uplifted in natural surroundings right outside the company’s doors. While a meeting spot that’s physically outdoors is ideal — like a rooftop garden or ivy-covered gazebo — it’s not a requirement.
Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle offers employees a direct link to nature, with an indoor space that overlooks a river, waterfall and more than 40,000 plants. You can even hold a meeting in a treehouse. You won’t find desks or stuffy offices. Instead, it’s a bright and open space where people can be among the greenery. It’s a chance to refresh while getting the creative juices flowing.
5. Modern Tech Integration
Today’s meeting spaces are all about using digital resources to create, communicate and collaborate. Tech is deeply rooted in the fabric of corporate life, from the use of smartphones and tablets to artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Workers use these resources to make their work more efficient and convenient.
Wireless capabilities are a necessity in the 21st century, with employees required to work in multiple locations without interruption. Remote employees and distant clients mean video conferencing equipment is a must, including the right camera setup and a conveniently placed screen. Interactive whiteboards are also popular, a digital space ideal for visual problem-solving.
How to Add Comfort and Style to Corporate Meetings
Great designs that offer function and comfort will allow employees to flourish. With room to stand, employees are more productive during meetings and able to discover solutions faster. Multi-functional furniture provides a place to both relax and store essential items. And the integration of outdoor scenery, even indoors, will leave workers feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Consider adopting one of the five ideas above to make your meeting space comfortable and stylish — somewhere employees will thrive.