A meeting room fit for all

David Saul, managing director of leading serviced office operator Business Environment, on the importance of well-equipped meeting rooms.

Business meetings can take place anywhere, whether in a bar, restaurant or coffee shop. Despite this, many entrepreneurs repeatedly tell me that there’s no substitute for a proper meeting room, both in terms of practicality and the need to project a professional image.

For meetings to be productive, there needs to be minimal hassle. The problem with meetings held in restaurant and coffee shops is that time is often wasted ordering refreshments .

Additionally, the level of noise can prove a distraction and there’s the added worry of losing valuable information, documents and property, such as phones or laptops.

While many entrepreneurs and start-ups worry about the cost of hiring a meeting room, opting to meet in a coffee shop is likely to represent a false economy, once the costs of refreshments and lost productivity is factored in.

Some feel that they can’t afford to hire meeting rooms until they’re running a successful business, which they’re struggling to do because they can’t meet clients in a proper working environment.

Recognising this, we created our &Meetings packages, which offer purpose-built, flexible meeting rooms in London, Bristol and across the South East, available to hire from just £5 an hour.

These can be hired by the hour, half-day and full day, booked online in less than three minutes, and are completely inclusive, meaning no extra cost for refreshments, Wi-Fi and presentation and TV screens.

The benefits of a proper meeting space extend far beyond just avoiding the security risks and distractions. In terms of the practical benefits, there’s the improved broadband quality and the ability to photocopy documents and easily charge laptops and phones.

The difference between meeting in a public place and a meeting room is the difference between instilling confidence in a potential client that you are capable of carrying out a job, and of not doing so.

Or, to put it another way, it could well be the difference between winning and losing new business, which is essentially the difference between the success and failure of any new venture.

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