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The Future of Meetings: Ten Real-life Solutions Part 1 | Paul Downs Cabinetmakers

The Future of Meetings: Ten Real-life Solutions Part 1

The pandemic has forced us to rethink how to go to work. What does this mean for boardrooms? It’s absolutely certain that future solutions will not be found in yesterday’s catalog. Over the last year, Paul Downs has been working with our clients to implement a variety of approaches to the post-covid boardroom.

We’ve come to four conclusions and one reminder about the boardroom of the future:

  1. People still want to gather together when it’s practical.
  2. Meetings will have both in-person and remote attendees.
  3. Flexibility to handle multiple scenarios in one room is essential.
  4. Logos and branding create culture and communicate it to others.

Reminder: Many leaders and organizations have no desire to change their current meeting practices. They are strong believers in the in-person meeting.

How do these trends play out in real life? Here are eleven projects that demonstrate a range of approaches to the challenges of integrating face to face meetings, video conferencing, social distancing, and enhanced sanitary procedures. Every one of these tables has been built and is in use.


A California School Board’s Committee Table for Social Distancing

Sanata Clara Social Distancing Committee TableSanta Clara Social Distancing Committee Table

Santa Clara County Office of Education asked us for a committee table that could accommodate social distancing. Working with their design team, we proposed a table that had a separate modular unit for each board member. The table can be arranged in two configurations: all pieces touching, for normal use and separated, if there is a need for social distancing.

A Top Insurance Corporation’s Scissoring Table Accommodates Video and Face-to-face Meetings

Brethren Mutual Scissoring Conference TableBrethren Mutual Scissoring Conference Table

Brethren Mutual Insurance asked us for a table that can be quickly changed from videoconference configuration to board meeting configuration. Our scissoring mechanism allows the arms of the table to be spread to maximize screen and camera viewing and then closed when table users want to face each other.

A Major Manufacturer’s Videoconference/Boardroom Table is Reconfigurable

Textron Reconfigurable Conference TableTextron Reconfigurable Conference TableTextron Reconfigurable Conference TableTextron Reconfigurable Conference Table

Textron is an enormous corporation with locations in 25 countries. Now that business travel is reserved for the most important meetings, a boardroom that can accommodate both remote and in-person attendees is essential. We worked with the Textron leadership team to develop a solution that allows them maximum flexibility. We provided a large V-shaped table with a logo for videoconferencing, and a set of folding modular tables with integrated A/V plugs for flexible use of the rest of the space.

A Midwest Credit Union’s Reconfigurable Table Promotes Non-Hierarchical Meetings

Reconfigurable Conference TableReconfigurable Conference Table

Kemba Financial has deep roots as an employee-owned credit union. The current leadership team wanted to respect that tradition in their boardroom. The Paul Downs design team recommended replacing their rectangular table with an open oval, featuring screens on the inside faces. This shape maximized seating in the room while promoting the idea that all meeting participants are equal. The table also has a removable section at the end, so that the table can be used for videoconferencing.

A Federal Government Agency Combines Face-to-Face with Advanced Audiovisual Features

Conference Table with AVConference Table with AV

After reviewing all of their options, this agency settled on a table that puts their top-level team in the same room for their meetings. A central camera/microphone system will track speakers and broadcast the discussion to remote participants. Our design team worked with the agency to overcome the technical challenges of a very large table that requires extensive wiring. The images above show the table with the central compartment that holds the camera/mic unit in the closed and open positions.


You don’t need to guess what approaches will work for you. The Paul Downs design team works with decision-makers and design professionals to develop solutions tailored to their particular situation. Contact us today for a free project consultation.