Rethinking the Meeting Room: Maintaining Collaboration in Comfort at the Office during the "New Normal"
Employees are now returning to the office but coronavirus is still a lingering threat. How can we best adapt our workspaces without stifling productivity and compromising on comfort & productivity? A combination of adapting our existing spaces and introducing new ones is key to remodelling the modern workplace. Spaces that are particularly concerning are those that are collaborative in nature. The pandemic has created a need for physical distancing, however collaboration within a shared physical space is essential to the productivity of a business and the wellness of its employees.
Meeting Spaces are Still Important
As much as it may feel safer to cut meetings down to a minimum during the pandemic and/or rely exclusively on Zoom, facilitating gatherings and collaboration is a vital part of workplace success and wellness. In order to make meeting spaces a safe reality during COVID-19, we must make the necessary adjustments.
Here are some effective room configurations to facilitate safe gathering & collaboration at your workplace (Pivot Spaces: A Central Feature in the Post COVID Workplace by WorkDesign Magazine https://bit.ly/3c2Z1JY):
Half-moon space – the room, available for larger internal meetings is arranged into a half moon shape and the furniture provides adequate power solutions and surfaces for laptops. There are varying heights and types of furniture in this space, which ensures that everyone feels comfortable and engaged. In the centre of the half-moon, is a large video conference TV, allowing remote workers to dial in.
Huddle space – with comfortable seating that both encourages distancing and allows for the productive use of personal devices. The arrangement is flanked with screens which allow the team to share their screens and collaborate.
Work café – Employees are seated on bar-height stools with screens separating them and planting serving to reduce close encounters. It is an energetic setting that encourages informal connection among colleagues.
Open workspace – In the quiet workspace, the number of traditional workstations has been reduced. Employees make use of the company’s app to book a desk for the day. The smart re-arrangement of seating to the short ends of tables allows for greater distancing between individuals. Screening also gives the sense of privacy and comfort. Although the demand for this space has been reduced as a result of remote working, it is vital that employees can find a retreat to focus and work with colleagues in an environment that puts them at ease.
Fireplace room – This former boardroom has large armchairs socially distanced for small groups, complete with a hologram of a fireplace. It enables a team to talk in an intimate, private environment that sparks imagination and a sense of community.