Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

April 11 2016

How Furniture Size Fuels Collaboration

David McMillin




Want to get more done? Get a bigger table. That’s the key finding from a recent study conducted by Humanyze. The people analytics company used wearable badges to track the lunchroom behavior of employees at an online travel company, and the research added up to one simple but powerful discovery.  “We found that increasing the size of lunch tables significantly improved performance by over 10 percent,” Ben Waber, CEO, Humanyze, wrote on Google’s re:Work blog. “By eating in larger groups, these higher-performing lunch goers were building larger networks within the organization, and research has shown that social network strength can influence performance.”

The study showed that the most productive people typically ate lunch in groups of 12 people while the least productive people ate with only four people. These larger groups gave the members more connections with coworkers, and those connections can play an important role in accountability. Who wants to tell their regular lunch companions that they’re slacking off and won’t be able to get their portion of the presentation done on time?

SEE ALSO: The Convention Centre Furniture Experiment That Planners, Attendees & Sponsors Will Love

Creating A Collaborative Environment At Your Conference

While you may not have much control over the furniture in the break room at your office, meeting professionals have plenty of choices to make about furniture rentals for meetings and conferences. From 72” circular tables to 48” inch square tables and more, the dimensions of furniture impact seating numbers and room design, but this study shows that they may also impact how well your attendees work together. Every conference aims to be “engaging” and “interactive”, but making strangers feel comfortable enough to work together and share their biggest challenges isn’t easy. Shaking hands with someone with a name badge doesn’t create a direct connection for a small group exercise. Instead, it seems that shaking hands with lots of people can help create a comfortable and collaborative environment.

Looking for more advice on how to arrange the tables, chairs and couches at your next attendee experience? Check out “3 Ways Furniture Can Facilitate Better Networking At Your Meeting.”

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