More and more board meetings are moving from the boardroom to the Internet, thanks to the services provided by board portal solutions like Convene, BoardVantage, Boardbooks, BoardPad, etc. They support board remote meetings on mobile devices such as iPads, iPhones, Windows, and Android tablets, enabling board members to meet even when they’re in different locations.
There are many advantages to meeting remotely – no travel time and expense, reduced paper usage, and more flexibility in schedule are just three of the most important. It’s not a surprise why many organizations favor remote board meetings nowadays. As technology gets better, it’s only a matter of time before board portals take over and make remote board meetings the default.
But this doesn’t mean that remote board meetings have completely replaced face-to-face meetings. Board members still need to meet in person every now and then to get to know each other better and establish stronger professional ties. According to a study conducted by Forbes Insights, majority of the 750 business executives surveyed believe that face-to-face meetings are still a crucial part of building more meaningful and profitable business relationships. Thus, your organization should still hold a regular sit-down board meeting, and also to have a boardroom that can accommodate all board members and other participants during such an occasion.
A boardroom is not just any other regular room; it’s a place where major decisions for your organization are made. It doesn’t have to be boring — in fact, it should be anything but; otherwise, how can it be conducive to creative thinking? A boardroom should be arranged in such a way as to encourage great ideas, so design plays a big role. Design doesn’t trump functionality; design exists to enhance it. If you have any doubt in the matter, just think of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. He made design just as equally important as specs, and this decision catapulted Apple to its tech giant status.
Aside from being stylish, a boardroom should also be comfortable enough to house two- to three-hour-long meetings (and maybe even longer). Discomfort can wear on people’s patience and affect their decision-making process.
Also, it’s important for a boardroom convey the image an organization wants to project. Ernst & Young, one of the four biggest accounting firms in the world, broke away from the staid and boring stereotype usually associated with accounting, and went with a beautiful boardroom in its Berlin office. The irregularly-shaped table designed by Kinzo looks different from various vantage points. The bold structure and asymmetrical lines are meant to stimulate creative and out-of-the-box ideas. Interestingly, the chair’s position is in the table’s center of gravity, both literally and figuratively.
The Boys and Girls Ad Agency went the other way and chose a fun table as its boardroom’s centerpiece. The unique thing about this table is that it’s made from LEGO bricks – 22,742 pieces, to be exact. These bricks are connected to each other the way LEGO bricks should be, so no glue or any other kind of adhesives were used. The company logo – also made from LEGO bricks – sits on top of the colorful blocks.
To get design ideas for your organization’s boardroom, you can turn to hotel meeting rooms for inspiration. Hotel Missoni Edinburgh’s VIP Boardroom delivers a luxurious board meeting experience. In the middle of the room is a sleek 12-seater glass-topped table created by well-known designer Todd Bracher. Hanging from the ceiling is a unique spider-like light fixture made by another popular designer, Ron Gilad. And of course, the zigzag pattern on the carpet is a nod to Ottavio Missoni, the fashion house’s patriarch who put zigzag in haute couture.
Then there’s The Venetian Room in The Michelangelo in Midtown Manhattan. It has a cozy yet elegant Italian theme that gives off a warm vibe to the space. The shelves are lined with books and artwork, the table is topped by stone, and the chairs are backed with leather-bound cushion. It mixes the look of a library and a dining room, making it feel almost like home. It’s ideal for smaller boards meeting in a more casual setting.
As you can see, the designs presented in all four examples vary from each other. There’s no one-size-fits-all boardroom design that works for all organizations. You can go for cozy or chic, fun or elegant, colorful or monochromatic. The important thing is to keep the boardroom’s design in line with your organization’s culture. It should accurately represent your organization so that board members won’t forget what they are there for.