The office boardroom… the place ideas are generated and discussed, where the big decisions are made, and if you are a fan of the apprentice, it’s where the firing is done – ruthless!
Regardless of the type of meeting taking place, a well-designed boardroom should not only be equipped to support efficient working, if the correct decisions are to be made, it should also be capable of remaining interruption free. On average, we get disrupted every 11 minutes, so it’s no surprise that this is an issue many of our customers need help addressing. When discussing and tasked with creating a distraction-free boardroom setting for our customers, there are several considerations that we make.
Acoustics can make all the difference
First things first, if the workspaces outside of the boardroom are busy with the sounds of phones ringing and conversations in full swing polluting the space, this can overspill into the boardroom setting. If noise levels are high outside of the meeting, this is likely to create distractions before your meeting has even begun.
Limit the risk of this occurring by assessing and understanding what is causing the noise in your workspace. A well balanced acoustic solution will ‘Absorb, Block and Cover’ noise created within the immediate meeting room, and any occurring within the outer environment that could lead to distractions – we call this ABCs of office acoustics. An acoustics expert can assess how the sounds are travelling around a workspace, and make recommendations for solutions that can help to cover and disperse the noise.
Introduce a booking system
When a meeting is in full swing, and the ideas flowing, the last thing any forward thinking company would want is for their workers to be interrupted by someone walking in to ask how long it will be until the boardroom will be vacated. Likewise, it can be so frustrating when you have booked your company’s boardroom to conduct an interview or staff appraisal and arrive to find the space is already pre-occupied by another group, and you may feel uncomfortable interrupting the work taking place.
With 11% of lost time in the workplace being as a result of workers looking for a space to meet, Reserva by Steelcase is a valuable web-based meeting room scheduling system that makes booking the boardroom or any other meeting space easy. The small screens are located outside the space and visually display the meeting subject, schedule and attendee information. This clever solution removes the ‘first-come, first served’ scenario while also removing the need to interrupt and disturb others who are in the boardroom.
Keep attendees refreshed
Reduce the need for workers to leave the boardroom while a meeting is in progress by adding a space for refreshments within your boardroom setting. We have all been in a meeting where we have popped out for a glass of water, not only does this break our concentration; we also run the risk of being pulled into other conversations outside of the boardroom. By simply adding a coffee machine, and a water dispenser, disruptions can be significantly reduced, while ensuring that workers are able to easily access refreshments and remain comfortable.
Many companies are now taking this a step further by adding a small sofa or breakout area at the back of their boardroom. In addition to the reduced risk of disruptions, it also encourages short, regular breaks during long meetings, helping attendees remain focused and refreshed thus improving concentration levels.
Technology should help, not hinder
Not all distractions in the boardroom come from noise, often the culprit can be the outdated or lack of adequate technology in the space. On average 5-10 minutes of meeting time is lost due to workers trying to connect to the appropriate technology needed to enable sharing and collaboration. This is not only a waste of precious time each day; it also disrupts concentration and workflow.
From touch screens and SMARTboards to ClickShare which supports screen sharing, appropriate integrated technology can create environments that support collaboration and innovation while keeping all disruptions to a minimum.
Design for comfort and creative thinking
If workers are to remain focused in the boardroom during long meetings, then they need to remain free of distractions caused by becoming uncomfortable. From seating that doesn’t support a good posture and regular movement, to air-conditioning systems that make the boardroom too hot or cold, concentration can be easily lost.
While the connection between boardroom design and distractions may not be instantly obvious, more and more of our customers are asking us to create boardrooms that support creative thinking and idea generation. From bright colours to inspirational quotes and wall art, if workers are feeling inspired they are more likely remain actively engage and able to contribute to the meeting taking place without becoming distracted.