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As businesses return to the office, many employees share a common question: what will happen with meetings?

Just because you’re back in the office doesn’t mean everyone is entirely comfortable crowding into meeting rooms for long periods. Expectations about meetings have changed, as have the frequency and types of meetings people hold.

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 seven trending conference room design ideas for face-to-face and virtual gatherings.

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 rising, while teams and larger groups were declining.

But there were no spaces to have these meetings, so small groups tended to reserve large conference rooms, edging out the larger groups that needed the space.

Of course, the pandemic blew everything up regarding in-person meetings. But as businesses return to the office, there’s no rush to resume large, crowded meetings. The in-person meetings coming back first are smaller, more intentional, and often more distanced.

Some businesses had already begun to pivot toward more and more thoughtful, 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 hasn’t yet adapted, now is the perfect time to do so. You can do so in an informed, pandemic-conscious way, allowing 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 LED video walls can make a splash in specific high-impact spaces – especially those where customers, clients, or vendors meet with you.

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 a conventional projector.

Elevate your Lobby with LED Video

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 return 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 almost every collaborative space.

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 pre-pandemic levels. What was a flight and hotel stay before COVID may 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 workstation with the latest and greatest technology.

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 essential acoustics become.

That’s why intelligent acoustic design is one of our top trends for 2023. 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 a uniform look. Make your conference rooms inviting by uniquely theming each one. This could be as subtle as color (think “Let’s meet in the Blue Room”) or tied to aspects of your business. Try brainstorming different conference room ideas with coworkers to settle on a theme everyone will love. The only limits are your 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

Interactive whiteboards and digital flip charts remain popular in 2023. Look for connected models that can share board content with virtual attendees and save content for future reference.

7. Modern Office Furniture and Conference Chairs

When it comes to interior design, modern office furniture is essential. Not only does it contribute to the overall aesthetic appeal of the room, but it also plays a crucial role in productivity and efficiency with employees. This type of furniture, designed to provide comfortable seating and ergonomic support, ensures that meeting participants can sit for extended periods without discomfort. It also incorporates features such as integrated power outlets and cable management systems, allowing for a clutter-free workspace.

Modern office furniture is often modular and can be easily configured to accommodate different meeting formats and group sizes, making it an excellent choice for conference rooms of all sizes. Depending on your conference table(s), room chairs, room dividers, and floor plan, you can configure your conference room layout in multiple ways. Ultimately, the right furniture can help create a more comfortable, collaborative, and productive office space.

Trust Bluewater for Your Upcoming Conference Room Redesign

Above all, be very cautious about going DIY for any upcoming conference room refreshes. It takes expertise and experience to design and develop a successful conference room that incorporates the trends mentioned above.

Bluewater has extensive experience in conference room design and audiovisual builds, especially for modern meeting room design projects. 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 about office design? Let the experts at Bluewater help you get started.