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Conference Room Setup: Creating The Ultimate Collaboration Hub

Conference rooms are the hubs of business interactions. They are not just places for meetings, but for business critical activities including strategy discussions, creative workshops and winning presentations.

As a video conferencing specialist, Digital Vision AV has been helping their client’s optimise their meeting rooms for decades, creating seamless and collaborative experiences. So we decided to put together this guide to help you make those all-important decisions on the most effective meeting room setup.

With so many business operations now taking place in hybrid workspaces it is of paramount importance to create meeting rooms that are the ultimate collaboration hub for all. Here are some of the reasons why setting them up correctly is vital for the growth of a business.

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Focus and Improved Productivity 

Inefficient meeting spaces waste time. A well setup conference room speeds up the productivity of the meeting by ensuring everything runs smoothly and delegates are able to focus on the objectives of the meeting.

Enhanced Communication and Collaboration

A well designed and thought out conference room encourages active participation and information sharing leading to smarter learning outcomes. So whether you are in the office, working from home, or on the other side of the world, a well set up meeting room allows seamless collaboration with all. By utilising the correct AV equipment for the meeting type ensures everyone, regardless of geographical location, can be seen, heard and activity contribute in meetings

Professional Image

A well-organised and equipped space projects an image of professionalism and attention to detail. This can be the difference between securing a deal or leaving a negative impression. A well organised space equipped with the right technology creates a positive first impression not only for clients but also current and future employees too.

A well-set-up conference room enhances communication, boosts productivity, and portrays a professional image – all crucial for business growth, making it a worthy area for investment.

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What is a conference room used for?

Conference rooms are the flexible hub of business interactions as their role has evolved away from those of traditional boardroom meetings. In today’s business landscape meeting rooms are used for in-person meetings, virtual meetings and hybrid meetings. The key to maximising the value of your conference room lies in its ability to adapt to the different meeting needs.

For in-person meetings, an effective conference room setup allows for face to face meetings which maximise collaboration. As well as this, a video conference setup with user friendly facilities allows colleagues to connect remotely regardless of geographic boundaries.

Hybrid meetings combine in-person and those joining remotely, so adaptable AV equipment allows for smoother interaction for all. By creating a flexible and well-equipped conference room, you empower your teams to collaborate effectively, regardless of the meeting format and geographical location.

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What are the benefits of an effective meeting room setup?

A poorly designed conference room which suffers from, for example, poor quality equipment, room echo/reverberation, uncomfortable chairs and even dysfunctional table set up, can lead to a reduction in productivity, poor communication and even demotivated staff.

However, by removing these barriers to productivity and ensuring a well designed and cohesive conference room setup from the start brings many benefits to an organisation, such as:

  • Presents a professional image
  • Inspires creativity
  • Improves staff wellbeing
  • Enhances communication and collaboration
  • Speeds up decision making
  • Boosts productivity

Creating a comfortable meeting space including, furniture, accessibility, lighting and temperature allows employees to fully participate in the meeting. Flexible AV solutions coupled with flexible furniture design allows attendees to work creatively and collaboratively together. Clear presentations, easy screen sharing, and real-time collaboration tools help teams reach decisions faster.

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Meeting room setup checklist

With so many benefits of a good meeting room setup, and so many important and varied meetings (in-person, virtual and hybrid) taking place in conference rooms, where should you start when considering setting up a meeting room? 

Here’s a checklist to ensure your conference room is set up for success, fostering productivity and a positive meeting experience:

Video conferencing hardware and software

Reliable video conferencing capabilities are essential for virtual and hybrid meetings. Consider high-definition cameras, microphones, and speakers for clear audio and visuals. While free software options exist, they may lack features crucial for business needs, such as security, recording capabilities, and seamless integration with other platforms.

Internet connectivity

Fast and stable internet is the backbone of successful video conferencing and real-time collaboration. Ensure your conference room has a strong internet connection to avoid dropped calls and disrupted video.

Furniture

Having comfortable seating allows participants to be less distracted allowing them to engage freely within the meeting. Movable tables instead of one large one allows for flexible configurations based on meeting size and style (e.g., U-shape for brainstorming, classroom style for presentations).

Lighting

Natural light is ideal as it reduces eye strain, fosters a more positive and energising environment and is best for your general well being. Supplement natural light with adjustable artificial lighting to cater to different meeting needs, for example virtual and hybrid.

Plants

Including plants within the design of your meeting room can improve air quality and boost moods as well as providing a relaxing and inviting atmosphere in which to work.

Functionality

Modern meetings often involve multiple devices like phones, laptops, tablets, and chargers. Considering the functionality of your space ensures, for example, there are enough easily accessible plug sockets around the conference table to accommodate everyone’s needs.

By considering these elements, you can create a conference room that fosters productive collaboration, enhances communication, and leaves a positive impression on everyone who uses it.

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What AV equipment is needed to setup a conference room?

The ideal AV set up within your conference room depends on several factors, including room size, the number of people attending, as well as the type of meeting taking place. For example, larger rooms that are used more frequently for presentations will be set up differently to smaller breakout rooms. Similarly the number of people attending your meeting virtually will influence the microphone and camera setup within your conference space.

Here’s a breakdown of essential AV equipment for an ideal meeting room setup:

Video Conferencing Camera

For virtual and hybrid meetings a high resolution conference room camera is a must, allowing meetings to feel more natural and by allowing attendees to freely see and engage with each other. For larger rooms you might need to consider several strategically placed cameras to ensure all participants are visible.

Microphones

A combination of table-mounted microphones and ceiling microphones provides clear audio pickup throughout the room. Explore options with noise cancellation to minimise background distractions.

Large Format Displays

Large format displays are extremely versatile, offering bright, high quality images for use in a variety of presentations and video conferences. These clear displays allow content sharing and ensure clear visibility for attendees, even for those seated farther away. The room size will affect the size of the screen needed. Smaller breakout and huddle rooms might benefit from smaller and more interactive touch screens.

AV Control Systems

An AV control system simplifies managing all your equipment (cameras, displays, microphones and even temperature and lighting) with a single interface improving user experience, reducing time wasted and increasing productivity. This can be especially helpful in larger rooms or those with complex setups.

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Room Booking System

room booking system allows employees to easily reserve the conference room, preventing scheduling conflicts and ensuring efficient space utilisation. This is particularly important for rooms located outside open office environments where availability might not be readily apparent. By utilising a room booking system you can easily see any trends or patterns which offer a valuable insight to workplace culture.

Projector

Projectors are a valuable addition to any multifunctioning meeting space and can increase engagement of presentations when larger audiences are involved.

Wireless Presentation Solutions

One of the best features of wireless presentation systems is being able to ditch cables which allows meeting delegates to share content wirelessly to the room’s display from their laptop, or mobile device without fuss.

Acoustic Treatment

Soundproofing your office meeting rooms boosts employee wellbeing and productivity not just by reducing echo, reverberation and noise within the conference room but strategically placing acoustic tiles or soundproofing panels can make a stunning design feature too.

Interactive Touchscreens

Interactive touchscreens allow for real-time collaboration, note-taking and content sharing. Participants can manipulate content, share ideas visually, and keep everyone engaged no matter if it is an in-person meeting, virtual or hybrid. Fostering a more dynamic and engaging experience enhances any meeting experience.

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VR-Integrated Video Conferencing

Platforms like OneRoom are pushing the boundaries by integrating virtual reality into video conferencing. This allows for a more immersive and collaborative experience, especially for geographically dispersed teams resulting in greeting knowledge retention and safer environment in which to learn complex tasks.

Meeting room layouts

Deciding on a meeting room layout can feel overwhelming. There are many functionalities of a conference space and a range of working styles that would need to be considered during the planning phase. The key lies in understanding how the room will be used most often and choosing elements that allow for greater flexibility.

For example, one solution would be to opt for smaller, moveable tables which create multiple configurations depending on size, feel and meeting style. By having tables you can easily reconfigure allows the space to transform easily from one function to another. 

As well as this, a wireless presentation system creates a more dynamic and functional room space. Planning with flexibility in mind from the start allows a multipurpose space to be created.

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Choosing your layout

Here’s a breakdown of common conference room layouts to consider, along with their strengths and weaknesses, and some essential meeting room AV equipment for each space to consider:

Boardroom

In terms of configuration, a large rounded central table with chairs surrounding it, allows everyone to be fully engaged. Position digital screens and conference cameras so everyone can easily see and be seen whatever the global location.

This setup is suited for formal meetings, presentations, strategic discussions requiring focused participation as well as interactive collaboration sessions using the large table as a focal point to layout documents and drawings. This, however, isn’t suitable for free flowing collaborative workshops.

When it comes to equipment, a video conference camera, microphones, large format displays, whiteboard and a projector screen are effective tools.

Hollow Square

This setup consists of tables arranged in a square formation, with a space in the centre. It’s best used for smaller groups of people and collaborative workshops so hybrid meetings or presentations with a single focused speaker might be better delivered in a different setup. Depending on room size, multiple microphones may be beneficial.

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U Shape style

As the name suggests, tables are arranged in a horseshoe shape, with chairs facing inwards. A central digital display is required for presentations as well as cameras and microphones so digital attendees can clearly see, hear and contribute. Best suited for presentations, training sessions and video conferencing, especially Microsoft Teams Front Row, where attendee interaction is desired. 

Due to the forward-facing nature of the layout, it isn’t conducive to informal discussions and meetings requiring a lot of movement or activity. 

Auditorium style

This configuration involves rows of chairs facing a stage or presentation area maximising attendee capacity. It includes a central focal screen for presentations as well as cameras and speakers that can not only detect the main speaker but also audience members too.

This room is best suited for large presentations, lectures, and conferences with a single focal point, but not optimal for interactive discussions with audience participation. Some essential equipment includes multiple digital displays, an AV control system, conference cameras that can follow the speaker around the room for those attending virtually, a large projector and multiple speakers.

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Classroom style

Classroom style layouts consist of rows of individual tables and chairs facing a presentation area, and while focusing on a central speaker, it does allow for movement between tables. This makes it suitable for in-person and virtual training sessions and workshops, but less so for informal meetings and more collaborative workshops.

In terms of equipment, this layout benefits from a projector or large format display, whiteboard or flipchart, conference cameras and speakers.

Huddle rooms

Huddle rooms are characterised by small, enclosed spaces with limited but comfy seating, often around a small table or counter. They are best suited for spaces designed for small informal or quick meetings.

Understandably huddle rooms aren’t ideal for large presentations, or meetings requiring space for lots of materials and equipment. These small spaces benefit from a small screen with conference camera and speakers for hybrid meetings.

By understanding your meeting needs, understanding how you will use your space and choosing adaptable layouts and technology, you can create a space that transforms to fit any situation allowing greater productivity, creativity, collaboration and comfort for everyone involved.

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Conclusion

In today’s dynamic business landscape, seamless communication is paramount. Conference rooms play a vital role in facilitating collaboration, fostering innovation, and projecting a professional image. Whether the meeting style is in-person, virtual or hybrid, a well-designed conference room can significantly enhance meeting efficiency, enhance employee productivity and retention, foster greater client relations and ultimately drive business growth.

The right technology integration further empowers your teams. Equipping your conference room with smart technology and providing user training unlocks the full potential of the space. Our AV solutions ensure a smooth setup and seamless experience, allowing you to dive right into the heart of your discussion. If you need help setting up your meeting room, contact us today.

Digital Vision AV are video conferencing experts providing leading meeting room solutions so get in touch with us today or simply call us on 01442 620078 to discover how we can help you create your ultimate meeting room setup.

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