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How to make meetings more productive

A recent poll carried out for Remark Group revealed that meeting rooms aren’t facilitating productivity or collaboration, as half of people leave meetings thinking they weren’t successful. What more can be done to make meetings more productive, including their design, booking process, refreshments and ventilation?

THE BUSINESS SOLUTIONS EXPERT’S VIEW
PENELOPE HARRALL, 
MARKETING LEAD, REMARK GROUP

With open plan offices and collaborative workspaces on the rise, meeting rooms are required more and more as spaces to hold private discussions, or as places to undertake complex work that requires high levels of concentration. However, from Remark Group’s findings in the ‘Air Quality and Wellbeing at Work’ survey, we can see that one in four meeting rooms aren’t facilitating productivity or collaboration.

So, what can be done? Unfortunately, there isn’t one straight answer. There are multiple reasons why a meeting room may not be up to scratch, but there are many solutions to fix it.

A number of studies have found that high CO2 levels have been found to increase tiredness and impact decision-making. The primary source of CO2 indoors is produced from people and the study found that if a crowded indoor space is not adequately ventilated, carbon dioxide can build up to levels where people start to feel sleepy, lethargic, dizzy, can have difficulty concentrating and cause headaches.

Providing meeting rooms with natural ventilation is the simplest solution to reducing high levels of CO2. Where that isn’t possible, there are plenty of HVAC solutions that can assist in controlling and cleaning the air. Air Quality sensors are a great way to monitor the air quality in meetings rooms, allowing you to analyse the data and maintain a comfortable working environment.

Collaboration technologies, such as video conferencing, are an effective way of supporting collaboration and productivity. A good video conferencing system can improve communication, increase productivity, optimise attendance and reduce travel times and costs. With video conferencing, you can include live on-screen presentations to all participants, as well as the ability to make shared notes visible to all parties. Having to use all senses, not just hearing, heightens concentration levels and allows you to absorb more information.

Background noise is another major concern for meeting rooms and can make those in them more distracted, and therefore less productive. In another survey conducted by the Remark Group, it was reported that 65 per cent found that noise in the workplace impacted on their ability to complete work in an accurate and timely manner.

When privacy is paramount, a sound masking solution will contribute to creating an environment with maximum acoustic privacy, meaning confidentiality is restored and employees will be less distracted, and working at their most productive.

When it comes to meeting rooms, there is no one solution that fits all, but with the utilisation of air quality monitors, collaboration technologies and sound masking, every meeting room has the ability to be a collaborative and productive workspace. 

MEETING ROOM SCHEDULING SOLUTIONS EXPERT’S VIEW
CRAIG SEAGER, 
DIRECTOR, WORKPLACE SOLUTIONS CONDECO

Productivity is one of the biggest challenges that businesses are currently facing and recent figures from the Office for National Statistics indicate that mounting political uncertainty and a drop in investment means this is a problem that won’t be going away any time soon.

Where a meeting takes place can be crucial to achieve a good outcome but there are also many ways businesses can enable greater productivity, through both technology and good meeting practice.

The rise in flexible working means that people aren’t always in the same place and this makes the task of scheduling and booking rooms that much harder. Using a meeting room booking solution can help make the entire process smoother.

Integration of our platform with other technologies, such as Microsoft Azure and Exchange, enables businesses to ensure participants have reminders in their diaries for the time the room is reserved, creating a more joined-up approach.

It’s not uncommon, these days, for there to be a mix of people attending in person, dialling into a call, or participating via video link, which comes with its own challenges. By integrating with Microsoft Teams or other video providers like Zoom, you can ensure that meetings can start promptly, avoiding disruption or confusion. This ensures the entire process of a meeting, from organisation through to participation is managed using one easy-to-use platform.

Increasingly, businesses are moving towards activity-based working, providing their employees with a choice of settings for different tasks – from small, intimate rooms for one-to-one chats, to bright, spacious boardrooms for high-powered business meetings. Different settings can support the aims of your session and determine what the tone is, so it’s vital you have the right space for the job.

Last year, when opening their new HQ, Bupa had to house 2,000 staff and create a space to promote agile and flexible working. Using data-led insights, they designed a mix of rooms suiting their varying needs – accommodating collaboration, idea sessions, video calling and conferencing – all managed using workspace technology.

Workforce priorities are changing and so organisations are having to prioritise finding a more flexible and technology-led way of working. Effective use of space – and a comprehensive means of managing it is key in this and is instrumental in promoting productivity.

Poorly managed meeting rooms, or inadequate facilities can leave employees feeling unmotivated and frustrated. Your staff have important tasks to undertake each day and using software for room booking can be the difference between a company that is over productive, rather than being busy, but still underproductive. 

About Sarah OBeirne

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