Picture this: Over the past few years, your workplace has undergone a major transformation, impacting the dynamics of collaboration. Whether it’s the constant shift between in-office and remote work or other evolving factors, change has become a constant. Now, the need for a workplace redesign has become evident.
Crucial to your redesign are your meeting room standards. According to our Q3 Occupancy Intelligence Index, employees are gathering in smaller numbers and opting for more intimate meeting spaces when available. As employees redefine their relationship with the office, their utilization of meeting rooms is changing, too.
This shift in preference towards smaller meeting rooms is a consistent trend worldwide, according to our data. This may vary by workplace, so there’s an important question to ask yourself as you start designing your office. Do I need more small meeting rooms or fewer larger ones?
In this blog, we'll delve into the key considerations that will help you determine whether your workplace demands an increase in smaller meeting spaces or a consolidation into larger ones. Before we explain how to find your answer, let’s explore why it’s an important question for your company.
4 Reasons You Should Right-Size Your Meeting Rooms
As workplaces evolve, it's crucial to adapt your spaces to meet the changing needs of a dynamic workforce. Here are four compelling reasons why right-sizing your meeting rooms should be a priority:
1. Maximizing Resource Efficiency
When there’s a mismatch between the intended use of meeting spaces and the evolving dynamics of collaboration, it can leave them underutilized by employees.
At VergeSense, we’re seeing large conference rooms being underutilized by teams looking for more intimate collaboration spaces. In fact, we found that regardless of meeting room size, the average number of attendees physically present in meetings hovers close to two people.
This represents a missed chance to cultivate a more flexible and collaborative work environment. This mismatch can also prove costly. The cost of maintaining spaces that do not align with actual usage patterns can accumulate over time, potentially leading to losses in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for companies.
By right-sizing meeting rooms and adjusting their design based on actual usage patterns, you can reclaim wasted space, optimize resource allocation, and establish a more functional workspace that aligns with the current needs of a dynamic workforce.
2. Enhancing Collaboration and Engagement
Adapting to the evolving needs of employees can enhance the quality of collaboration, innovation, and teamwork. For example, adapting to workers’ preferences for small meeting rooms can help foster a more intimate and collaborative atmosphere, promoting effective communication and idea exchange.
The intimacy and closeness afforded by well-matched spaces can create an environment where individuals feel more connected to the conversation, facilitating a free flow of ideas and perspectives. This heightened engagement not only contributes to more effective communication but also translates into increased productivity during meetings.
3. Addressing the Demand and Supply Gap
Our Occupancy Intelligence Index reveals that meeting rooms are unavailable in the majority of offices for over half an hour per day.
A vast majority of the time, these are large meeting rooms occupied by just a couple of people. Right-sizing meeting rooms to create multiple smaller rooms instead of one large one can help bridge the gap between the demand for collaborative spaces and the available supply. This ensures accessibility for all team members.
4. Improving Employee Satisfaction and Productivity
The correlation between a well-designed environment and overall job satisfaction is unmistakable. Just making more meeting rooms available, for example, reduces the frustration of scheduling conflicts and last-minute adjustments.
Beyond functionality, employees also value a thoughtfully designed workplace that aligns with their collaboration needs. Creating workspaces that not only meet the functional requirements of employees but also enhance their overall well-being can foster a culture of job satisfaction and heightened productivity.
How to Know If You Need More or Less Small Meeting Rooms
Now that we’ve explored why you should right-size your collaboration spaces, it’s time to find out whether or not you need more small meeting rooms. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you find a solution.
Are You Running Out of Meeting Rooms?
The first question to ask yourself is: Am I running out of meeting rooms?
We found that for over half an hour per day, there are no meeting rooms available in the majority of offices and work floors. A leading contributor to this is the legacy of large conference rooms that continue to take up a substantial percentage of all meeting room space in offices despite the need to serve a smaller and increasingly dynamic workforce now.
It becomes imperative to reevaluate the proportion of large meeting spaces relative to smaller, more flexible alternatives.
Is There a Correlation Between Meeting Room Size and Occupancy?
Our analysis of meeting rooms around the world found that the answer is no. The average number of people who attend a meeting in a large conference room still rarely exceeds more than a few people.
It’s important to analyze your meeting room usage data to identify the most popular meeting room types and your least popular spaces. By doing so, you can adjust room capacities based on actual usage data, optimizing underutilized spaces to create more of your most popular meeting room types.
Implement Occupancy Intelligence
Anecdotes only get you so far. Occupancy intelligence is needed to gain a proper understanding of how your workers are utilizing meeting spaces and what size meeting rooms you should have throughout your workplace.
Using occupancy intelligence, you can:
Identify patterns in how workers use workspaces
Make predictions about how employees will use workspaces in the future
Implement flexible work arrangements based on confident, data-driven decision-making