Beyond a Return to Work: Creating Modern Spaces to Collaborate (Part 1 of 3)

Only 9% of the global workforce expect to fully return to the office after organizations reopen.3

RESPOND to the Unpredictable Variables of Meeting Rooms

According to statistics from Bain & Co. and Attentive, meeting time has increased 10% in the last 15 years, with the average duration clocking in at 31 to 60 minutes. (Unsurprisingly, 33% of that time is deemed “unproductive” by its participants.)1  As a result, even organizations who felt like they had planned for enough meeting spaces were finding that their employees were struggling to find available rooms that synced with participant availability. 

As many employees begin shifting to a work week divided by onsite and virtual presence, companies need to create new meeting paradigms that promote collaboration while accommodating social distancing and hybrid work schedules. Specifically, on-site meeting spaces should allow employees, customers, and/or vendors to maximize face-to-face opportunities safely, efficiently, and enjoyably. Otherwise travel to the office — which may only occur in order for people to team up — may be met with resistance. 

The Role Of The Room

Ultimately, the role of the room should be to enhance the collaborative experiences.   Where in the past, employees may have relied on a conference room to provide them with the best experience, todays solutions offer consistent experiences that are suited to the size of the moment, going beyond small and large conference rooms.  With the reimagined floor plans and communal desks, the need for a quiet space or a small meeting is even more important than in the past. 

When reimagining meeting rooms, it’s critical for companies to understand the social dynamics of small meetings and the spaces they occupy, such as:

  • 36% of the time, only one person occupies a conference room
  • 85% of meetings have fewer than seven attendees
  • 6% of meetings have 10 or more attendees
  • 2-4-person meeting rooms are twice as likely to be overcapacity as 5-person meeting rooms2

An effective response to the pandemic-fueled challenge of facilitating safe, face-to-face get-togethers on a smaller scale are the incorporation of huddle spaces and “telephone booths”.  Huddle spaces are geared towards smaller meetings while “telephone booths” are 1-2 person rooms designed as a quiet space for focus or one on one collaboration.  These meeting rooms provide minimal footprint solutions while allowing for the larger collaborative spaces to be used to their full potential. This mix allows one-on-one interactions via booths/pods, as well as larger gatherings in more conventional meeting spaces.

As your company begins to plan for a distributed mix of collaboration spaces, Black Box recommends you reconnect your meeting space to ensure your employees gather together safely and productively now — and in the future.

If you’re ready to get your workspaces prepared for the return of the workforce, download our Return to The Workplace Checklist. Or, contact us at 855-324-9909 or email us at [email protected]


Black Box® is a trusted IT solutions provider delivering cutting-edge technology products and world-class consulting services to businesses across the globe in every industry. The breadth of our global reach and depth of our expertise accelerate customer success by bringing people, ideas, and technology together to solve real-world business problems. 


  1. 7 Steps to Improve Virtual Meetings in the New Era of Work. Frost & Sullivan Hub. (2021, June 15).
  2. How to plan conference room usage in the age of social distancing. Defining Standards for Counting People - Density Occupancy Systems. (n.d.).
  3. Embracing the Hybrid Workplace. Cisco.
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