Make Your Own Office Amphitheater

A lot of things have changed in offices over the years from how we dress to go to work�if we go to work at all�to whether a lofty corner office complete with name on the door even exists anymore. Mad Men be damned. Today, modular office furniture and office workstations are more often the norm, or spaces with modular desk systems up for grabs that you snap together and occupy at need and then alter when project requirements demand a different kind of space.

Space: Mirroring How Business Works

Modern office space often reflects the image of the business that owns it, and how those businesses imagine their work happens. Best businesses recognize that where and how their people work deeply influences their productivity. Google and Apple epitomize some of the most imaginative in office spaces, with plenty of glass, open air spaces, coffee nooks, couches, and small open-but-cozy meeting spots. Groups can gather under natural light and in comfy oversized chairs. These uber cool workspaces are designed to maximize creativity and output.

Space: Facilitating Collaboration

Shared space and the move away from private offices even for executives reflect the increasingly collaborative nature of work and the demand that space facilitate creativity and productivity at every level. But the increasing liquidity of our workspace to enhance creative momentum can sometimes become chaotic when large groups meet or as people join in or break out during brainstorming and development sessions. Sliding into work or swinging on our office chair may have its perks, but sometimes our job demands a defined space, especially for large groups, clients and client presentations, and other VIP events. Sometimes, we just have to make a presentation to everybody, and everybody has to see and hear us. Enter the office amphitheater.

Office Amphitheater: See, Hear, Speak Together

Amphitheaters offer plenty of advantages to businesses moving at full steam over the traditional board/bored room. They can offer posh individual seating, giving participants a sense of self-relevance as well as shared work areas that can be reconfigured as needed to accommodate physical models, group collaborations and other breakouts. Chairs can sport control panels for private exchanges and be tiered or curved. The central presentation area can be raised for ease of view and address. In an amphitheater voices naturally carry easily up and outward. When people can see and hear each other well, each presenter can feel like his or her presence is germane to the business at hand.

And if one of the speakers is being tied in remotely from another room/building/city or even country, an effective videoconferencing system�complete with large screen and good sound system�is critical to giving the same sense of immediacy and personal presence to online participants as those physically present.

Where possible, two large screens work best for online deliveries, one to accommodate people at a distance and a second to transmit Smartboard ideas, plans and doodles, electronic documents and other e-materials. 

Amphitheaters: Game On

Key considerations in any meeting space enable participants to see, hear, and speak without feeling either lost in too much space or crowded out of it. Look to strike a balance in your workplace. Provide either a permanent area dedicated to important meetings and where people understand to always arrive game on, or a more casual space that can be set up and broken down, but still give people the sense that their presence, matters.

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