As businesses return to the office, many employees share a common question: what’s going to happen with meetings?
Just because you’re back in the office doesn’t mean everyone is completely comfortable crowding into meeting rooms for long periods of time. Expectations about meetings have changed, as have the frequency and types of meetings people are holding.
For many businesses, now is the time to evaluate their conference rooms and rework those spaces to fit changing needs.
To that end, here are 6 trending conference room ideas for 2021 and beyond.
1. More and Smarter Flexible Meeting Spaces
Even before COVID-19, meetings were getting smaller and more frequent for many businesses. Small, collaborative, ad-hoc meetings were on the rise, while teams and larger groups were on the decline.
But there were no spaces to have these meetings, so small groups tended to reserve large conference rooms, edging out the larger groups that really needed the space.
Of course, the pandemic blew everything up regarding in-person meetings. But as businesses come back to the office, there’s certainly no rush to resume large, crowded meetings. The in-person meetings that are coming back first are smaller, more intentional, and often more distanced.
Some businesses had already begun to pivot toward more and smarter flexible meeting spaces before the pandemic. And unfortunately, some of these businesses designed those spaces too small, not allowing for the distancing that seems to be the new norm.
If your business hadn’t yet adapted, now is the perfect time to do so. You can do so in an informed, pandemic-conscious way that allows small groups to meet safely, with the intelligent tools needed in each space.
2. LED Video Walls for High-Impact Spaces
LED video walls used to be prohibitively expensive, reserved only for high-dollar industries where maximum impact is needed. But in the past few years, costs have come down considerably. An LED video wall isn’t necessary for every conference space. It’s certainly overkill in the smaller flex spaces described above. But in certain high-impact spaces – especially those where customers, clients or vendors meet with you – LED video walls can make a splash.
Why? For starters, the video quality is unmatched. Your presentation or video presence will look better than the best projectors, with sharp colors that make an impact. And in many smaller spaces, you can get a larger visual display using an LED wall than with a conventional projector.
3. Videoconference Capability in Every Space
The return to the office certainly isn’t going to be uniform. In many businesses, some staff members will never come back to the office full-time – if at all. So even though we won’t be as dependent on videoconferencing as we were in 2020, businesses will still need videoconference capability in just about every collaborative space.
The reality is that the pandemic has changed aspects of business in ways that will last for years to come. Business travel nearly evaporated and is unlikely to return to prepandemic levels. What were a flight and a hotel stay before COVID may well just remain a video call now. So the need to videoconference with a vendor or another branch or location will be more frequent.
Bluewater supports several videoconferencing solutions, from bespoke installations to mobile videoconferencing stations. We can help you outfit any kind of space for the future of work.
4. Intelligent Acoustic Design
For most businesses, the conference rooms of yesteryear weren’t known for their particularly pleasing design. The acoustics were, at best, an afterthought.
But today’s spaces require more space in general, not to mention more technology (including adequate audio and video for presentations and videoconferencing). The larger the space (and the more complex the A/V needs), the more important acoustics become.
That’s why intelligent acoustic design is one of our top trends for 2021. If possible, design your meeting spaces from the ground up with acoustic principles in mind. But even if that’s not feasible, you can still treat the room appropriately with acoustic tiles and friendly finishes.
5. Themed and Inviting Conference Rooms
Conference rooms don’t have to be boring, nor do all your spaces need to have a uniform look. Make your conference rooms inviting by theming each one in a unique way. This could be as subtle as color (think “Let’s meet in the Blue Room”), or it could be tied to aspects of your business. The only limits are your own creativity and the culture of your business!
Also, make sure your conference rooms are inviting places where people will be inspired to have their best ideas. White walls and uncomfortable chairs are out. Personality and comfort are in.
6. Interactive Whiteboards and Digital Flip Charts
Last, interactive whiteboards and digital flip charts remain popular in 2021. Look for connected models that can share board content with virtual attendees and save content for future reference.
Trust Bluewater for Your Upcoming Conference Room Redesign
Above all, be very cautious about going the DIY route for any upcoming conference room refreshes. It takes expertise and experience to design and implement a truly successful conference room that implements the trends mentioned above.
Bluewater has deep experience in conference room and A/V design, including implementing the trends above. Our experienced team will help you design and implement conference rooms that will outfit your business with the needed spaces for years to come.
Ready to learn more? Let the experts at Bluewater help you get started.