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Create an inspiring space! Tip number 4 of my 7 meeting tips (download brochure) is a reaction to all the poorly designed meeting rooms that abound in offices around the world. So many meeting hours are spent in uninviting, dull and poorly lit rooms. It’s depressing.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Daylight reduces stress

It reminds me of the culture shock I experienced when arriving in Canada for an internship for several months at airplane builder deHavilland. I was dumped in a cubicle and was lucky. If I twisted my head into an uneasy angle I could catch a glimpse of daylight. That was luck because it made me one of the happy few.

In the Netherlands, where I was studying at that time, daylight in the workplace is prescribed by the government agency regulating occupational health (ARBO dienst). Though technically not required by law, it nevertheless means that all workplaces have access to daylight.

At DeHavilland I would stumble upon cubicles in the most remote and dark places of the plant. Poor guys!

Meeting rooms reflect your values

(Already old) research has shown that the design of office space has a profound impact on stress levels of workers. A study of workers sitting near a window exposed to nature view showed significantly less stress than workers without such a view. Interestingly enough an empty wall had the same effect as a TV-screen showing a similar nature view: they were both as bad. So it’s the real view that counts!

The research doesn’t say anything about meeting rooms but I see no reason why the conclusions should be fundamentally different, especially if you are spending more than a couple hours a day in a meeting room.

Al Pittampalli, whom I interviewed recently said:

‘Many organisations don’t put a premium on the design of their meeting rooms. But with the meeting room you state what type of organisation you are. The values of an organisation come together in the meeting room so design them according to those values!’

In our knowledge intensive society, so many organisations state that their workforce is their most valuable asset. But when I look at their meeting rooms I see failing asset management.

So I wonder: Are you taking you values seriously? How inspiring or depressing is your meeting room?

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