Spaced Out!

With square footage at a premium, particularly in certain commercial hot spots in London, and across other sought after City Centre locations, there’s an emerging trend for businesses to use external meeting room facilities, as required, rather than to take on excess space, thus avoiding the greater expense of office space that might be under used.

It makes perfect sense. Far more cost-effective to rent space on a ‘need only’ basis, identifying specific space that is a fit, in terms of both size and functionality, for each occasion.

One of our clients, Meet in Place, is positioned as a meeting rooms provider offering such a service. It identifies and takes corporate space in areas where big multi-nationals are located, providing serviced rooms by the hour so that businesses can organise meetings with colleagues flying in from overseas, without negotiating what might be limited internal space.

Rooms available range from classic conference rooms and small, informal meeting rooms to grand boardrooms, where larger groups can congregate and enjoy a full selection of amenities in elegant surrounds.

There are many variations to the concept. Meet In Place has gone for a boutique hotel vibe and has adopted a brand identity that is evident across all locations while others have opted for a traditional corporate style or have gone for a creative mix of spaces to suit a wide and varied audience.

Identifying a good fit

When sourcing these spaces, the facilities are key. Clean, spacious bathrooms, good desktop vending; flexibility to bring in outside catering etc. are all important as these aspects are a relevant and focal part of the service, providing comfort and addressing the users’ basic needs.

Similarly, well-designed, comfortable seating counts too. If people are sitting, and required to concentrate, for a prolonged period of time, they need to be relaxed and at ease. Attention to ergonomics not only avoids back pain; it also improves concentration, along with the overall experience.

The above provides a checklist that sits alongside the technical must haves – audiovisual equipment, WiFi and whiteboards – that are the necessary tools of the trade when it comes to pitching and presentations.

Home from home

Sometimes a change of environment simply for change’s sake can provide a real benefit and it’s good to actively seek a place that differs from the regular office surrounds. This is particularly true if you want to engage in any type of team-building exercise or to create a demarcation between on and off site.

It’s important to choose an environment that matches your own facilities and that has a complete offering so that time isn’t wasted in the initial setting up. This is particularly relevant if you are paying by the hour or using these rooms for meetings as a cost-saving exercise.

The benefits of face to face

There’s another reason why these spaces have become increasingly in demand that provides us with a bit of a barometer when it comes to the way we like to work today.

Virtual meetings are beginning to take more of a backseat following the initial flurry of interest and when the opportunity presents itself, businesses are certainly gravitating back to personal gatherings.

Ultimately, nothing beats face to face and, as more of us move towards adopting a flexible way of working, less dependent on place, either at home or on the move, the time that is spent with colleagues and co-workers becomes more valued.

No surprise then that we want to facilitate this meeting time in the best way possible.