In the past, there’s been an air of hushed seriousness and opaqueness attached to the image of the conference room. But nowadays, with the disruptive mindset unique to startups, the rulebook on what a conference room “should be” has been tossed out the window. Many companies have realized all that a conference room truly needs is to have common space for collaboration, and how you achieve that is entirely up to you.
At Highfive we like to inspire and discuss the new way to work, which is why we created a list of five conference rooms we love.
While these five conference rooms are very different from each other, they do have a few common tendencies, such as a view, the use of surprising objects or materials, bright colors, a high degree of mobility, accommodating and welcoming to multiple work styles (group or individual, impromptu or planned, in-person or web conferencing), and a bent toward transparency (often literally), personality, playfulness, and unconventionality. See for yourself!
Asana goes for a light, airy, open, and simplistic feel, encapsulating their mission to simplify the enterprise. With a panoramic view of the San Francisco skyline, the abundance of windows means inspiration is never hard to come by. Toys standing by, such as a telescope and exercise ball are perfect for those who want to spend some quiet time playing and pondering.
Google, whether it’s their flagship office in Mountain View or their office in Tokyo, pretty much always takes the cake in terms of creative workspaces. The elevation of this space makes it unusual, but gives it an air of privacy as well as providing two different kinds of views, inside and out. The surrounding astroturf is a very simple, surprising, and delightful way to change this space up, and gives it a natural, oasis-like feel.
In this example, Skype has no shortage of ways to hold a meeting (impromptu or not). A scattering of small tables makes it very easy to pull up a chair and join the conversation you’re walking by, while the circular couches might be more comfortable for planned-out meetings. The beanbag chairs and wooden bleacher-style seating in the background are another option which add a light, inclusive vibe.
Square’s open, spacious, 3-sided workspaces means there is a high degree of transparency and makes it effortless for others to pop by or join in from the nearby workstations. The padded walls, ceilings, and seats help to reduce noise pollution and increase the comfort, and are ideal for both alone time and for groups.
Zynga’s conference rooms look more like art classes than a place to meet with an unconventional route by having their employees sit on small wooden benches with no common table surface. Instead, each has a huge blank sketchpad resting on an easel in front of them, encouraging more uninhibitedness, creativity, and participation. The glass walls on 2 sides provide the sought-after transparency.