Take care of the user experience in your meeting rooms

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The meeting room is the core of any company, since it is where big decisions for the future, ideas or agreements are made and suppliers and clients, both current and future, are received. Therefore, it is extremely important to take care of the appearance it reflects and, even more, the user experience. The lighting and acoustics of the room have vital importance here.

How to achieve great lightning in meeting rooms

A well illuminated meeting room promotes the concentration and well-being of people, which makes it possible to make the most of the meetings held in it, since humans tend to be more active and more productive when light is present.

Without a doubt, the best option to illuminate a room is natural light, something that may seem easy at first, but many factors must be considered to control this light. Contrast levels in the room must be low, otherwise there may be reflections on the screens or monitors used for the development of the meeting.

Artificial light is necessary to focus on the main elements, such as the meeting table, so pendant lights are a good solution for this. The vast majority of them are designed to avoid reflections and focus on workstations of people, being the optimal way to use them in a position of direct light and with an angle of 45 degrees on the work surface. If a blackboard is used, it is advisable to concentrate light at the end of the room where it is located.

There is another element that involves artificial light in which it is important to stop to improve the comfort of people. It is about circadian lighting, a system that controls the color temperature of the emitted light and its levels, favoring the circadian rhythms of users, which are synchronized with the biological rhythms of the human being organized in cycles of 24 hours. On a practical level, this lighting allows us to go from a stimulating “biological light” with a maximum blue content in the early hours of the day, to a quiet, warmer “biological darkness” with little or no blue content for certain times of the day. There are several studies that support the benefits of stimulation and relaxation that this system provides us, improving the quality of sleep and rest of workers and, therefore, their productivity.

If we focus on people, we must use a light intensity between 400 and 500 Lux to illuminate the faces. This value of 500 Lux on the faces implies that the maximum light on the table and surroundings must be 750 Lux, which is equivalent to maintaining a contrast ratio of 1:1.5. It’s also important to note that lighting the surrounding walls too much can cause faces to appear darker.

The color of the light, as well as that of the environment, is another component that influences the lighting of the rooms. In general, a good range of light color temperature would be around 3000-4000K, a figure that can be increased depending on whether the room is very dependent on daylight. Another point to keep in mind is that you should avoid mixing technologies such as fluorescents or LEDs, since if they are found together in a room, their color profiles will differ.

The level of environment, the use of neutral colors such as gray or beige improve the appearance of the color as opposed to pure white, which is a color to avoid on walls, since it exceeds 50% of the Light Reflection Value (LRV) recommended. Along these same lines, bright colors such as pure red, blue or green are also not recommended, as they can unintentionally distort skin tones and other hues.

Lighting requirements for videoconference cameras

Cameras and online meetings are increasingly present in our days, therefore, an issue that affects us is the position of the webcam in the room depending on the lighting.

First of all, you should avoid pointing the camera towards windows facing the outside as well as other sources of intense lighting, such as spotlights. Lighting fixtures positioned behind gathering participants often cast silhouettes and obscure subjects.

However, even if the camera is not looking directly at the window, strong sunlight can still produce significant contrasts between the silhouette of attendees and the background. That is why it is important to ensure that you can control sunlight to more comfortable levels, through curtains or blinds.

Acoustic of the room

The acoustic quality of the environment is a basic pillar within the comfort of the user and usually tends to be forgotten. More nowadays in the context of globalization, integration of technology and teleworking, acoustics is a vital factor for the optimal functioning of a meeting. Aware of this, we must know that each space has its own acoustic characteristics, many of which can be managed to improve our communication experience.

The materials used to compose and build a meeting room are key to improving the sound in offices. First of all, it is recommended to avoid the use of reflective surfaces, since the hardness of these materials can increase sound reflections, thus compromising the development of the meeting. This type of material can be replaced by more porous and softer ones.

A resource that can help us reduce echoes and reverberations are sound-absorbing materials, with acoustic panels for ceilings and walls being very effective solutions. As for the ceiling panels, it is recommended that they be made up of plates with absorption class A or noise NRC (noise reduction coefficient) of 0.9 or higher. The NRC coefficient rates the effectiveness of a material in absorbing sound and ranges from 0 (a totally reflective material) to 1 (a totally absorbent material).

As for the wall panels, it is recommended to place them on at least 2 walls that, if possible, are adjacent at the same height where the listeners and microphones in the room are located. For these panels to have an effect, they should have a minimum thickness of 5mm, placing the Sound Reduction Index (Rw) around 48 dB in the case of walls and 35 dB in the case of doors, to determine if there is no sound transfer between inside and outside the room.

The use of soft materials for sound absorption is also recommended on the floor, since otherwise we could fall into the trap of generating an acoustic bridge that would completely nullify the insulating properties of the other installed elements (especially in false floors). To achieve this, an example would be using carpet instead of tile or hardwood.

Finally, another aspect to consider is the acoustic insulation of the windows through insulating enclosures or double or triple glazing systems to avoid outside noise and, thus, avoid possible distractions for the people in the room and on the other side of the call.

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