More and more companies are opting out of the formal meeting room with long rectangular table and chairs for a more relaxed approach, the common space. These common spaces are simply less-formal areas to hold meetings.
These areas are not a completely new concept, many offices have had open areas for employees to relax and hang out on break times or work in a more relaxed environment in hopes to boost creativity and productivity. Now many companies are turning their sights on providing common spaces for welcoming and meeting with clients, instead of a seemingly stuffy traditional board style meeting room. Some of these areas may contain features like couches, office cafes, game areas, or comfy chairs.
After a meeting, a client might be invited to stay and spend an extra hour to have coffee or work in a relaxed atmosphere with a free Wi-Fi connection. Some companies are encouraging clients to feel at home and bring clients of their own.
John Sadlon, the principal at the architecture and design firm Perkins+Will, believes that investing in a common space for clients “helps the client to become more comfortable, more informed about the organization outside of the formal space.” [Source]
The idea behind these common spaces to hold interactions and meetings with clients is to break down barriers by offering a collaborative workplace. There is something about these common spaces that puts minds more at ease and more readily available to build relationships that benefit both parties.
Morningstar is a Chicago-based investment research firm. They have offices occupying 30,000 square feet of the Silverstein Properties 4 World Trade Center. The company has set up its office space with high-backed couches and chairs gathered around coffee tables as well as a semi-enclosed auditorium with views of the One World Trade Center and city of Chicago. Doesn’t just the description of the space have you wishing you worked or met business partners there?
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