Even if the majority of your workforce telecommutes, times arise in any business when getting the whole team together proves critical. Companies also need places to entertain clients and give presentations. If it’s time to add a conference room to your organization, where do you begin? What must you include?
Unlike the rest of your workplace, conference rooms demand greater attention to classic touches. They also require significant capital investment for quality equipment. When designing your space, keep the following six tips in mind.
1. Identify Power Sources and Issues
Some older office buildings lack adequate outlets in certain areas. Others have interesting quirks — for example, running the coffee pot at the same time you make copies results in a blown fuse.
Before selecting a location for your conference room, scope out available electric outlets and test them for power. Identify potential problems by plugging in multiple devices at the same time to check for overload. You don’t want to end up in the dark during a big presentation when a bit of diligence can avoid the issue.
2. Create a Scheduling System
Depending upon the size of your team and facility, multiple parties may need space at the same time. Set up a scheduling system even before completing the work on your conference room. This prevents a mad dash for the place all at once upon completion.
Decide which tools you will use to schedule conference room time. Many apps sync seamlessly with other software your organization may use already, such as Outlook. If you have a small, close-knit team, a simple whiteboard outside the conference room may suffice, but larger groups with multiple rooms require more technical solutions.
3. Make It Soundproof
Glass provides an excellent way to improve privacy in two ways. First of all, people can see into a glass conference room, meaning they’re less likely to knock and interrupt if there’s a meeting in progress.
Additionally, multiple layers of glass laminated together with PVB interlayers cuts sound so effectively, airports use them to decrease noise from jet engines. Protect your proprietary trade secrets by opting for soundproof glass. Your clients will enjoy greater peace of mind knowing their information is protected, especially if they trust you with their most personal financial data.
4. Use the IoT
In a recent survey, more than half of all companies indicated they allow telecommuting at least on a partial basis. Do you really need Rashmeed from Dubai to fly in monthly for every budget meeting? Doing so wastes valuable time and costs considerable overhead.
The Internet of Things (IoT) allows people to connect from anywhere on the globe. They can access their workplaces securely on devices from cellphones to laptops. When selecting equipment, invest in quality meeting software that allows for real-time, face-to-face screenings over an encrypted channel. This enables you to bring diverse team members together with less worry about hackers stealing data.
5. Invest in Quality AV Equipment
If you’re based in Pittsburgh but have a client presentation with a group based in Tokyo, you want to broadcast seamlessly without buffering or dropping. While you may need to dip into capital funds, doing so increases the quality of your presentation. This, in turn, impacts the way clients perceive you — if they view you as technologically inept, you risk losing their business.
6. Decorate With Classic Elegance
Your conference room needs to greet diverse visitors, so erring on the side of classic design elements makes sense. That doesn’t mean you need to pass on some whimsical touches, though. You can still showcase your business’s personality with playful decor that offers comfort as well as aesthetic appeal.
Start with your table. Will you go with the classic long table or several smaller breakout work areas? Choose lighting with care — harsh, overhead fluorescents make everyone appear anemic and give some people headaches. Hanging lights allow for subtle hints of personalization. Be sure to include some art beyond the basic motivational posters — an architect may feature a framed photo of an award-winning building or a restaurant supply company pictures of scrumptious culinary creations.
Making Your Conference Room Work for You
Your conference room is where you rally your troops and close life-changing deals. This space deserves all the TLC your organization can afford. By following the tips above, you can create a modern conference space that works for your business.
Scott Huntington is a writer from Harrisburg, PA. Find his work on Business Insider, Yahoo Autos, Time, INC, and more. Follow him on Twitter at @SMHuntington.