Anatomy of a Collaboration Table

Continuous collaboration is the core to any successful business. By sharing ideas on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis, groups of individuals are able to convey a multitude of ideas toward one common goal. Whether your collaborative efforts are effective, however, depends largely on the space allotted. Is there a conference room that has been set aside for such meetings? Have the proper tools been allocated to participants so they may express their thoughts and provide meaningful input both manually and electronically? What about the probability of a remote participant or the need to converse with an out-of-state company? As advances in video conference technology increase, leveraging its importance to your business’s success is essential.

Once the desired technology has been determined, the issue then becomes where to store all the components. An important part of most meeting spaces is a conference table and/or huddle station. Whether your conference space is set up for video collaboration or meant to serve as an informal space to gather for an impromptu discussion, there are several aspects to consider when designing your conference room furniture.

First on the agenda is to plan your space. How much room is available for furniture? Will there be other units in the room like rack cabinets or a credenza? If so, estimate at least 30” or more between the edge of these components and your table or huddle station. Then, consider the amount of participants you’ll have during an average meeting. Know that at least 30” per person is typical when designing the size of your table.

At this point, you probably already know whether your space is designed for a conference table or a small huddle set-up. If the former, how will you be presenting information? A media share controller, white board, projector or connected dedicated monitors? Will the table need microphones, any additional cable connection points or a speaker? Communicate any possible technology integration needs when designing the specifics of the table. Leaving space for these components to function properly is essential to the custom design and may affect certain options or the position of table bases. For huddle tables, again ask yourself how ideas will be shared among participants. Traditionally, a quick meeting of the minds doesn’t require more than a power connection or whiteboard to present ideas manually. However, if your space is limited and you can only fit a small table like a huddle station, consider adding a monitor to a wall near your set-up. That way, communication can be done electronically and you have the option for a video conference discussion. Dual purpose furniture is important to consider when you have a limited amount of space to work with.

Speaking of which, don’t forget to consider a modular set-up. Whether your space is large or small, a conglomerate of individual tables side-by-side adds variability to your overall set-up. For an important, large-scale meeting, tables can be latched together to create a conference table feel. They can also be specified to attach at any edge so users can choose the overall shape that works best for their meeting, creating a sense of personalization. Depending on your technology needs, each table could have power, cable pass and a simple media share port, which provides participants the ability to choose their method of communication.

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Just as important as space planning and technology, aesthetics play an important role in the design of your piece. Since the table will likely be the core of the room, it’s important to ensure it matches the entirety of the space, both in color scheme and overall appearance. Is there molding, a set wall color or a sense of modernity in the room? It would be beneficial then to include these aspects in your collaboration piece. Add metal inlay for an industrial touch, ask about color matching or ensure that the finish you do choose compliments or matches other pieces in your space. Keeping the background at the forefront of your design will keep your furniture from looking like an afterthought.

Communications is key to keeping customers engaged and your business thriving. Communication among your team, communication with your audience and B2B communication provide opportunities for growth. Set yourself up for success by ensuring that your collaborative space meets all your technology, space, style and size needs. Give Marshall Furniture a shout and let us work with you to design a piece for your next group get-together or video chat.

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