Meetings, we’ve all been there. Sat in a brightly lit, stuffy room while a colleague tries their best to keep you engaged as you slowly drift off. You’re still hearing but you’re not listening. Wouldn’t it be great if there were solutions to make meetings more exciting, engaging and even fun?
One person at the top of the table with a PowerPoint, or a group crowded round print outs is never going to excite our information hungry brains. Neither is travelling in to the office for one meeting when you could otherwise be at home, in a collaborative space or lying on the beach.
Technology, room design, lighting and furniture can all play a major role in keeping you and your colleagues engaged. Read on to find out more.
We love a meeting outside but this isn’t always appropriate so we utilise collaborative work spaces, coffee shops, small function rooms and clients meeting rooms (you’d be amazed how many of your customers and clients are willing to share their space!).
Be bold, think outside the meeting room.
Natural light is one of the best ways to increase engagement in the workplace and meetings
Can’t move to another location? No problem, make your space as engaging as possible.
One of the quickest and easiest changes to make is your lighting. Fluorescent lighting has been shown to cause eye strain and even induce migraines, and dim lighting can lead to drowsiness, sore eyes and headaches.
Aim to have your meeting in a room with large windows allowing natural light in. If this isn’t possible, invest in some daylight bulbs for your lighting system and where possible use uplighters (both floor and ceiling). Daylight is uplifting!
You can read another blog on workspace lighting by Open Workspace Design here: http://www.openworkspacedesign.co.uk/2015/10/14/the-impact-of-office-lighting-on-health-and-productivity/
Touchscreen tables can help encourage participation, and can improve engagement in meetings
Now you’ve got your lighting set up, it’s time to think about how technology can make those meetings more exciting and engaging.
The traditional video conference is a thing of the past. They are no longer only affordable to big business and only in one or two meeting rooms. Systems such as Skype for Business make virtual meetings affordable for all businesses and mean you can ‘attend’ your meetings from ANY location, on ANY device! Why does this increase engagement? It enables staff to be more flexible, making them healthier and happier. It also reduces the amount of time and money spent travelling between locations. Reducing travelling can lead to much higher productivity and engagement. The added bonus to the business is smaller travel budgets and staff spending more time working and less time travelling.
Large touchscreens can be used with software such as OneNote to collate meeting notes and ideas, and you can present a PowerPoint or project information at the same time. The ability for multiple users on the screen at once opens up many possibilities.
Do you really need to sit down? A stand up meeting can increase productivity and decrease meeting length.
Uncomfortable seating can affect our posture leading to drowsiness and disengagement. It can also be distracting as we wriggle and fidget to stay awake and constantly try to get comfortable. Providing chairs which have adjustable seat height and depth, and adjustable arms and lumber will ensure most people will be comfortable. If your design doesn’t suit a traditional office chair, try to provide a range of seating so people can choose what is comfortable for them.
Recent studies have shown that sitting for long periods is detrimental to our health. Consider having your meeting standing up. Stand up meetings have been proven to improve interpersonal relationships and enagagement (here’s a paper on stand up meetings and productivity http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1948550614538463).