Smart office space planning is key to creating a productive (and safe) meeting space.
A conference room can serve many purposes, from a quiet space for conference calls to management meetings where major decisions are made. The conference room is where we traditionally go to connect, communicate, and collaborate. But in the era of COVID-19, we’ll be using these meeting rooms differently and sparingly. When office space planning, decisions that might seem small—like how tables are set up, the number of chairs, and even seating fabric—can have a big impact on productivity and employee safety.
Here are some important tips for selecting conference room furniture, especially during the pandemic:
- Start with research and planning
- Consider conference table layout and configuration
- Choose comfortable and durable seating
- Customize your solutions
- Add color and artwork
Keep reading to learn more about choosing the best office furniture for your conference room below.
Start with research and planning
Before you start shopping, take some time to ask yourself or your team the following questions:
- Who uses this space? Is it only employees? Or will it also host visitors such as clients and vendors?
- How many people need to fit in the space comfortably? Keep in mind that elbow-to-elbow seating arrangements do not comply with public health orders in response to COVID-19, so plan for a lower room capacity until the virus threat has passed.
- What is the space used for? (For example, small check-ins, large staff meetings, or teleconferencing)
- Will the layout remain static, or do you often rearrange tables, chairs, and other furniture? If you’ll be moving items frequently, consider selecting conference room furniture that is lightweight or has casters.
- Do you have additional needs, such as storage space, technology, or food and beverage amenities?
Reflecting on the various ways your organization uses the conference room will help you hone the office furniture you need.
Not sure what you need? Enlist the help of our design services experts to help you select conference room furniture. We are more than an office supplies and office furniture vendor. We can provide tailored recommendations for conference room furniture that will fit your company’s specific needs and help you comply with public health orders for meeting spaces.
Consider conference table layout and configuration
At a minimum, most conference rooms will have a table and chairs. Beyond that, the layout possibilities are endless! Some of the more standard table configurations include:
- Standard boardroom table—rectangular, oval, or round
- Variations on the boardroom table—U-shaped or V-shaped
- Hollow rectangle—tables joined at each end with a space left in the middle
- Classroom style—a series of smaller tables spaced, so attendees face the front
Under normal circumstances, you might want your conference room furniture to allow for collaboration where colleagues can pop in and out for a quick phone call or informal brainstorming session. In this case, selecting conference room furniture for this use could include multiple smaller tables or a long, rectangular standing desk with electrical outlets.
However, we’re in a different time that calls for a different, more socially distant approach to collaboration. Instead of in-person gatherings, outfit your space with a large screen that’s easily visible from the conference table and use it to invite teams to video conferences. Virtual meetings give you a sense of togetherness while allowing for the distance that will keep your colleagues safe.
If you must do in-person gatherings, determine the appropriate capacity reduction based on CDC recommendations of maintaining 6 feet apart. On average, the minimum size of a 4-6 person conference room is around 168 square feet – which allots to 28 square feet per person. For this example, a capacity reduction of 50% (or only 2-3 people at a time) would then be needed to safely gather in the space.
Choose comfortable and durable seating
No one wants to sit through a meeting, long or short, in an uncomfortable chair. Selecting comfortable and durable seating will help everyone stay focused and productive – not distracted and fidgety. Consider adjustable ergonomic chairs for the most comfort. The people who might use the conference room are all kinds of shapes and sizes, so adjustable chairs are a way to make everyone feel comfortable.
Another tip for selecting conference room furniture in the age of COVID-19 is to consider the fabric. Avoid difficult-to-disinfect soft fabrics in favor or easy-to-disinfect materials, such as vinyl or recycled plastic. These options will make it easier to follow surface material cleaning guidelines designed to keep your colleagues safe.
Customize your solutions
During this step of the office planning phase, it’s time to think beyond tables and chairs. This tip for selecting conference room furniture invites you to customize your meeting space for your needs. For instance, do you need storage solutions for files or shared supplies? What about a whiteboard or a projector and screen? Would office furniture for a coffeemaker and supplies for an afternoon energy boost be helpful? How about a mini-fridge?
You may also consider customizing a large conference room or any open space in your office with room dividers to promote safe social distancing.
No matter what conference room solutions you have in mind, we have you covered. From furniture and accessories to technology solutions, order anything you need for your meeting space with just a few clicks.
Add color and artwork
Our final tip for selecting conference room furniture has to do with final touches, starting with color. The color of your conference room says a lot about your company’s brand. When you’re considering the office furniture, think about the best hues to accent your space. Blues can elicit calming and comforting vibes, while greens and yellows can add boosts of vitality and energy. Orange sits right in between with a balance of warm and lively. Or, go for a bold statement with shades of red. When picking your color palette, be sure to account for lighting. Some colors will appear drastically different under fluorescent bulbs and natural sunlight.
To finalize your conference room, don’t forget to add artwork for the office! Options with a bold accent or unusual design can spark creativity or go for an eco-friendly option that’s easy on Mother Earth.
Our Madison-area team can give you expert advice on office space planning and selecting conference room furniture to create a productive and safe meeting space. Schedule an appointment online or call us at (608) 310-4300 to start planning your customized conference room space today.