Before the COVID-19 pandemic, conference rooms provided employees with a space to collaborate and innovate. Now, business owners find themselves worrying whether these spaces—where team members previously crowded together without fear of germs or thought for ventilation—will prove more harmful than beneficial. When social distancing is one of the few ways you can keep your employees safe and healthy, what’s the fate of the conference room in modern office design?
While safety requirements have changed, it’s likely the needs of your business haven’t: You still need a spot where your team members can collaborate productively. So, we wouldn’t recommend doing away with your conference and meeting rooms just yet. Instead, try updating the design for these critical workplaces by:
Traditionally, conference rooms—like the rest of corporate office spaces—were arranged to fit as many people as possible into the available square footage. With COVID-19, this approach no longer works. So consider updating your office design by reducing capacity in your meeting spaces. Your average-sized conference room, which once seated 4 to 6 people comfortably, should now host a maximum of 3 people at a time, with additional attendees dialing in remotely from another location.
A good rule of thumb when deciding new capacities is to ensure each person using the room will have a 3-foot “bubble” of space at all times. This will help your employees stay six feet apart.
In addition to simply reducing capacity, consider rearranging the seating in your conference rooms to increase physical distancing. In a large conference room, stagger the seats at the executive table so that employees don’t directly face each other and install plexiglass screens down the middle of the table for additional protection.
In your smaller conference rooms, consider replacing the single meeting table with three or four personal tables or desks that your team members can space out. Not only will this help them maintain distance, but it can also allow them to better orient themselves to engage with each other or with the television screen broadcasting their remote counterparts.
Of course, if you want help rearranging your conference rooms to accommodate social distancing and protect your employees from COVID-19, it helps to partner with an office design expert. In the Tampa Bay area, that expert is Ajax Business Interiors. Contact us today to get started!