5 Conference Room Setup Ideas: Pros & Cons

Posted by Pallavi Mehra on

Work-from-home is over and we're heading back to offices with the pandemic almost gone. The endless meetings will now be in-person.

And although the way tables and chairs are arranged in the conference room might not seem all that important, the layout matters and can directly affect the efficiency of the communication.

Here are the 5 most common conference room layouts and their pros & cons:

1. Theatre-Style Seating

This type of seating doesn't use tables, and all rows of chairs face the front, with an aisle in the middle for easy access to seats.

Pros:

Perfect for presentations and demonstrations at the front

Very space-efficient

Clearly distinguishes between listeners and speakers

Cons:

Communication is one-sided; there's no teamwork

Not enough room to walk around

2. Boardroom-Style Seating

With this type of seating, there's a long table that seats people (including the presenter) on all sides.

Pros:

Members can engage in discourse

All members feel equal sitting at one table

Tasks get completed faster

Cons:

3. U-Shape Style Seating

In this one, the tables and chairs are arranged inn the shape of the letter 'U'.

Pros:

Members see the front of the room and each other since they sit facing inwards in the 'U'

Consequently, it's easier for them to engage in discourse

The 'U' shape makes it easy for the presenters to walk around to engage with the attendees

Cons:

The shape wastes a lot of space, seating lesser guests than a simpler design will
The presentation will appear at an angle to some guests

4. Cluster-Style Seating

Another way is to arrange tables (and chairs) strategically accross the room.

Pros:

This seating style gives the best of both worlds- it's easy to listen to the presentations, and it's easy to work in teams and have discussions

The tables can be round or rectangular

You can use tables big and small to fit the number of guests

Cons:

Unless it's set up cabaret style, that is, if you set chairs all around the tables, some guests will have their backs to the presentation

You might be able to seat lesser guests because of the wasted space

5. Classroom-Style Seating

Like a classroom, this seating style has rows of tables facing the front (presenter), and there is a chair for each table.


Pros:

Everyone faces the front

This style efficiently uses floor space

Cons:

Difficult to work in groups

Discussion may feel one-sided


Ultimately, you may benefit from choosing a layout depending on the purpose of your meeting.


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