Acoustically, two main problems affect a conference room – sound has to be confined within the room so that people outside can’t hear what goes on inside; and a good acoustic environment has to be created for people speaking inside the room, as well as for speakerphones, intercoms and the like.
Typically the walls of a conference room will be thick enough to contain sound. However, this usually leads to sound being trapped in the form of echoes and reverberations. To eliminate these reverberations, you can use sound absorption pads. For the best results, aim to cover 15% of the room’s walls with these pads. Also place some pads on opposite walls to help prevent sound from bouncing back and forth.
It has been proven that a pleasant scent can improve people’s ability to concentrate. With the right scent, you can create an environment in which people are more awake, alert and motivated to participate in meetings.
The best effect is achieved by combining relaxing and uplifting aromas. Peppermint, an invigorating scent, is stimulating and may help make meeting attendees more alert, creative and energetic. Similarly, rosemary may stimulate participants’ ability to learn and contribute. Lavender is a relaxing scent that can decrease the heart rate. Several whiffs during a work break may help those in a conference room recharge, preventing the dreaded afternoon energy slump.
Most of the time spent in a conference room is spent sitting, so it makes sense to ensure that the seats are of the highest quality. However, conference rooms call for a different type of seating to other parts of an office. Conference room seats shouldn’t spin, slide and move around as easily as office chairs, although lumbar support is still important for ergonomic purposes. For the conference room, also steer clear of too many colours. Classic, comfortable black or maroon chairs suit this professional environment best.
It’s essential for the lighting in a conference room to be bright enough to keep people alert but without being glaring. Lighting should be even and not cast too many shadows, making diffused fluorescent lights a good option. Depending on the facilities in the room, you may consider installing a dimmer rather than a traditional on/off light switch. This allows for adaptive lighting. If you need to use a projector, for example, you can dim the lights instead of turning them off altogether – which can lead to a break in attention and even be hazardous for people who need to move around or leave the room.
Although vibrant colours may be tempting, especially if they align with a corporate colour scheme, muted, pale tones are always best for a conference room. To avoid distracting people’s attention, choose from a palette of greys, beige, tan and pale, pastel colours like blue. Light colours are also smart choices because they tend to clash the least with projected video.