Meetings just got more exciting

Posted by Egle Bareikyte on 4/05/2017

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Meetings just got more exciting; we provide an insight into the meeting room revolution 

Meetings - we all have them, whether you love them or loathe them, they are an integral part of communicating and collaborating with colleagues. In this article we will explore why the traditional meeting room is failing us and how it is being revolutionised.

As we know, the workplace is changing, design is always evolving, the function of the office is broadening, the generations of the workforce are shifting, and this all brings about new trends in office design.

At Interaction, we design and build inspirational workspaces and we have been championing a new way of meeting - a setting that gives people flexibility and choice for effortless collaboration and efficiency. We believe the workplace is a tool to support wellbeing, foster collaboration and integration to encourage creativity and productivity; meeting spaces are a crucial part of this and embody these values. 

Why the traditional meeting room is failing us 

There is a significant amount of research to suggest traditional meeting spaces are ineffective. In the 2016 Leesman Index, a research project comparing the physical environments of average and high performing workplaces, shows the importance of flexible meeting spaces. It was found that one of the top workplace features that high performing offices utilise more than average offices were informal and unplanned meeting spaces. Along with the profound statistics that 30% of scheduled meetings worldwide are no-shows, 73% of people do other work during meetings, and it is estimated that 25-50% of time in meetings is wasted; clearly traditional meetings are not working. 

The issue with the traditional meeting room is it's intransigent and regimented nature, which means overly planned meetings, and uninviting space are not encouraging for spontaneous collaborations. We are not saying that the traditional meeting room is redundant, however a space has to have more. But what is more? And what can we do to tackle this issue?

The Revolution Begins

To create an environment that is effective for everyone, you have to go beyond rigid cellular meeting rooms. Moving towards spaces with no singular use, that can be utilised for an impromptu meeting, a whole company gathering, a setting to socialise, eat, collaborate, brainstorm and so on. The flexibility of these spaces is where their value lies, in the transitional period of Millennials entering today’s workforce. These meeting environments correspond with the needs and desires of this generation. 

The idea of flexible meeting spaces is congruent with the deterioration of the open-plan office, which we have touched on previously. At the heart of the open plan proposition was ultimately to foster collaboration and interaction, to allow your workplace not to be restrained by physical boundaries. However, there has been and always will be problems with this ideology, as people work in different ways. But has the move away from open-plan offices correlated with the revolution of the meeting spaces?

Dieter Wood, Managing Director at Interaction discusses: 

“We are moving away from completely open plan offices that maximise the provision of workstations. Proficient space planning strikes a balance and incorporates functional components to allow people to step away from their desk and have accessibility to a multitude of settings to suit the varying demands of their work. Additionally, introducing these spaces that are used for private work as well as meetings, create opportunity for hot-desking, meaning less dedicated desks are needed. We have been helping clients think differently about meeting spaces, and the results have been prominent, these settings are quickly becoming pivotal in aiding their people to work more effectively.”

A few meeting spaces we've revolutionised 

Hydrock's Tiered Seating

At the heart of Hydrock’s Bristol office that Interaction recently refurbished is the tiered seating auditorium. This unique feature creates a cardinal point in the space to encourage people to socialise, gather and learn. The auditorium is frequently used for team meetings, training and spontaneous collaborations. More pictures and information about this project will be available very soon.

Interaction's Community Table 

The Community Table that is placed at in the centre of the breakout area is the most versatile space in the Interaction office, as shown in our video. The functions of this table are significantly variable, and can host a whole company meeting, a one-on-one chat, brainstorms for our designs, or even ping pong. The usefulness of this table is pretty simple, it’s completely malleable and so big that you can almost always use part of it for a use that you desire. 

money.co.uk’s Ice Cave

The 'Ice Cave' is just one example of the multitude of flexible spaces that are scattered around the Castle that Interaction transformed. The Ice Cave, is a truly effective and secluded room that can be used for the team at money.co.uk to eat, relax, chat or have an informal meeting. To see more of money.co.uk's ultimate workplace click here.