Edited July 2020
While some would argue that having more than one style of a conference table isn’t affordable, it also doesn’t make sense for a conference room with expensive, executive style furniture to sit idle a majority of the time. Now that conference tables are no longer confined to long, lacquered, heavy pieces of dreary dark wood, the options for your conference room are more than just one kind of conference table.
For meetings where participation matters more than being the center of attention, a round table is functional, versatile, and can be quite striking.
The Shape of Your Meeting
Consider a circular conference table, where everyone meets on equal footing. In some situations, hierarchy matters, but not all, and collaboration is often best served with good eye contact and an equal share of power. Round tables are also convenient for smaller meeting rooms, and saving space is a beautiful thing. For meetings where participation matters more than being the center of attention, a round table is functional, versatile, and can be quite striking.
The more comfortable the room, the freer people feel to let the ideas fly.
A large, square conference table doesn’t even need its own room to be useful. With added space for large presentations, brainstorming sessions, and spreading out, this design can be used just about anywhere.
Have an open office plan? A square table fits nicely in a central location to be the focal point of a team or can be offset so as not to disturb other workers. When a project needs room to grow, this kind of table can be the perfect fit.
Not all meetings are large and imposing. Putting a small group at a big conference table can lose the intimacy of a team meant to work intimately. Consider smaller gathering rooms with tables to match, where people don’t feel like they’re yelling across an expansive divide. Whether circular or square, these smaller areas can still afford the privacy people need to focus, without compromising expense. The more comfortable the room, the freer people feel to let the ideas fly.
The best thing about modular seating is many tables can be nested, so they’re out of the way when not in use.
Multi-purpose doesn’t mean ill-fitting.
In large and small companies, there are plenty of training opportunities, and teaching at a single, large conference table isn’t always the best practice, especially with presentation materials. A closed table forces people who are facing away from the presentation screen to crane their necks or turn their chairs, taking away the writing surface or forcing an uncomfortable position.
Have a smaller group? Then a smaller grouping of tables would work to promote an air of listening and sharing. Is the meeting a training session? Perhaps rows of tables with chairs facing the presentation area offer the best vantage points. Even seating with their own individual tables can put your team in a learning mindset and help you keep your people up to speed. The best thing about modular seating is many tables can be nested, so they’re out of the way when not in use. How’s that for maximizing the budget and office space?
Classic doesn’t have to mean underutilized.
Sometimes, nothing but a beautiful, powerful, executive conference table will do. It provides the impression your company is in control and your people are the best of the best. If an executive conference table is a necessity, don’t overlook comfort, with tables at an ergonomic height and adjustable, breathable chairs to match. The more comfortable people are in the meeting, the better the focus on what you and your team have to say. All the fancy and powerful furniture in the world won’t matter if it’s not a joy to use.