When you think of an office conference room, you probably envision a generic long, big table with a projector screen at one end. Having the right conference room furniture can change the office conference room in positive ways that actually make people work better together.
When someone is presenting up front, it makes sense to have everyone focusing the same way, with no need to talk to the people across the table from them. But rarely are meetings just about one or two people talking, and this setup reduces collaboration in a number of ways. It can be difficult for coworkers to speak to each other in productive ways, as conversations can get jumbled, and things can just get confusing.
For leaders who want to be the center of the discussions, a single large table that forces everyone to focus on the head of the table is great. However, this is not the most conducive for group engagement and brainstorming, and many bosses are moving towards more laissez-faire or servant-leader models that relies on everyone bringing ideas to the table.
Finding ways to create a more collaborative atmosphere should not be too difficult either, especially with the right furniture. There are many options that can make this idea a reality. Think about the room that you have and in what ways you think that collaboration should work. Below are some examples of ways to make the conference room more amenable for brainstorming and discussion.
Alternatives to the Single Table
As mentioned above, a single large table is not great for collaboration, as it separates people and can be too large for a group. Using multiple smaller tables that can separate and come together is one way to break up the monotony of the conference room. You can pull everyone into different groups and then bring the tables back together to discuss ideas from the brainstorming sessions.
Chairs with a desk arm is another alternative, especially for offices that are really trying to shake up the standard office expectations. This way lets everyone be much more mobile, as they can simply roll their chair to different smaller groups and then return to a circle for larger discussions. There is also no need to move tables around at all, yet people can still use their laptops and take notes.
Couches and More
If owning a large table for presentations is non-negotiable, but you have more room for other conference room furniture, then adding spaces to the side of collaboration can work well. Couches and larger, comfortable chairs can promote an environment of collaboration because of the proximity and looser-feeling atmosphere. There are even couch options that feature connected laptop stands and other features that can ensure the group is connected.
While collaboration is becoming almost a cliched buzzword in many industries, there is no question that it leads to better productivity and in turn a more successful business. Creating an environment for collaboration begins with conference room furniture that is both comfortable and practical.