For people working in offices, meetings are one of the most dreaded parts of the week. You feel like you’re not getting anything done, and you get bored easily. However, the design and layout of a meeting room also have a large effect on how attentive and productive you feel in a meeting.
In this article, we look at some of the best ways to come up with an ergonomic design to boost productivity.
1. Type of Lighting
Good lighting is essential for productivity, as continuously working in bad lighting can cause eye strain. Natural lighting is usually the best option as it minimizes the strain on your eyes and reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and also helps people sleep longer. It explains why we are normally attracted to areas with natural daylight.
Polls and studies show that natural daylight is what employees value the most about their workplace, ahead of things like cafeterias and gyms. Many workers say they feel more energized when they work in natural daylight, and that their current workplaces don’t provide enough.
Some great ways to introduce more natural daylight is to choose a meeting room with a glass wall overlooking the outside, or an overhead glass panel in the ceiling. If there’s no way to get more natural light because of the weather or location of the room, ensure the lighting used is close to natural daylight as possible. Halogen bulbs are the closest artificial lighting to natural daylight and provide sharper contrast between colors. They also save more energy than incandescent bulbs.
2. Layout and Space
The layout of your meeting is quite important in order to keep everyone engaged. It is best to choose round tables or a U-shaped table. Watching The Office also taught us that seating employees in rows of chairs is probably not the best way to keep their attention. You’re more likely to get sound problems, and the meetings feel less personal. The layout should enable everyone to get a clear view of any presentations too.
Another fascinating spatial factor that contributes to our productivity is the ceiling height. When we work in rooms with higher ceilings, we get the illusion of more space and freedom. This feeling is more calming and we come up with better ideas.
Also, it is better to arrange the office furniture in a way that creates more space in the centre of the room. As expected a more ‘cluttered’ space gives us the feeling of less freedom, and encourages more constrained thinking. Want better ideas? Arrange the room in the most spacious way you can.
3. Paint Color
Paint colors drastically influence lighting in a room. So, in order to bounce off as much daylight as possible, use bright or light paint colors on the walls. Colors like white, pale blue or pale yellow are great choices. Some experts say that a light blue-green is the ideal color. We feel more at ease with this color because the colors blue and green are the most common colors we associate with nature.
4. Comfortable, Ergonomic Chairs
If you hold long meetings where people are seated for long periods of time, investing in comfortable meeting room chairs is essential.
Good posture has a profound impact on our productivity and energy levels, because it directly influences our biological functions. So, it’s not surprising that we were ordered to not slouch as children. In fact, some studies have shown that ‘powerful’ postures with optimal spinal alignment improved testosterone and lowered cortisol levels (stress hormone).. This leads to calmer thinking and higher risk taking.
So what makes for a comfortable office chair? Ergonomists say it should include proper support for your arms, adjustable lumbar support for your back, and a neck rest if your neck often feels strained.
The Steelcase Leap Office Chair for example, provides both excellent lumbar support and armrests. The chair has a decent amount of padding (too much padding can sink you in). Its dual adjustment lumbar support system Both the height and pressure of the lumbar can be controlled. The backrest also encourages the user to maintain an optimal spinal alignment, by following the natural ‘S’ curve. The options to change the seating position by adjusting the height, depth, and width are its strongest points.
Like lighting, temperature is an important factor in our productivity and energy levels. Changes in temperature trigger biological reactions (like fat burning), so it affects our performance. It’s easy to think that lower temperatures would be linked to higher productivity, since the cold forces us to keep alert and the fat burning provides energy. However, this is not the case. The ideal temperature for optimal productivity seems to be around 71.6°F. When the temperatures are too low, our bodies are busy trying to keep our body temperature normal, and it diverts resources away from our performance. Subsequently, we find it harder to stay focused and make more errors.
6. Keep your employees inspired
One element you can add to reduce boredom is to add things that inspire your workers to work harder. For example, you can create a magazine stand with magazines related to your field of work. Add magazines that talk about new innovations in your area. You never know what will spark the next bright idea!
It encourages workers to think outside the box and broaden their vision. This can be really useful in brainstorming sessions. Alternatively, adding interesting artwork can also boost creativity and get people thinking.
7. Provide Nourishment
It’s quite distracting and time-consuming for people to go to the break room to get a beverage or refreshment. So, add some snacks or a coffee machine in your new meeting room. Add refreshments that are healthy and keeps people focused, such as high-protein snacks, green tea, fresh fruits, etc.
Taking Meeting Rooms to the Next Level
There are countless ways to spruce up your meeting rooms, and it really depends on the nature of your work and personalities in your team. Regardless of the type of employees you have however, the above tips are universal and should work well in creating a more productive meeting room for everyone.