The fastest growing trend in workplaces today is the rush to go mobile. Even the Federal Government is incentivizing its workforce to work in places other than a traditional bricks and mortar office. But even though more and more workers are doing their job in places other than a traditional office the necessity to get together and share information or collaborate on a project will not diminish. While the need for office space may go away the need for a productive place to gather together will not.

So does that mean that a table in the corner of a local Starbucks™ is sufficient? In a word, no.

In order for a conference room to be fully equipped for success, and by extension for your meeting to be a success, it must provide the following (in addition to plenty of comfortable seating of course):

Wireless Internet access. In today’s workplace environment it’s an essential. As one recent meeting attendee put it, “…it’s as necessary as air”.

LCD Screens or projectors. What good are ideas if no one can see them? Whiteboards are OK but very limited. Computer based idea sharing is the norm and the ability for everyone to clearly see what is on the presenter’s computer is key.

Audio and/or videoconferencing. You need to have a way to incorporate far-flung associates into the meeting. Either of these services allows you to easily accomplish that.

Lobby greeter. If you meeting at a location that is not part of your normal office inventory, (i.e., a rented conference room space) then it’s very important to have someone to greet all attendees, to provide directions to the conference room(s) and rest rooms, provide advice and assistance on amenities and anything else that might come up. Besides, it’s professional and it’s expected.

Full business services. We’re talking print, copy, fax. Available and easy to use and ideally serviced by the lobby greeter. I don’t think these are services Baristas are trained to provide.

Catering service. Even Napoleon was aware of the necessity of feeding the troops. So the well-equipped conference room either has a kitchen associated with it or has a handy catering service menu or two. Give your order to the lobby greeter and let him or her take it from there. I’m sure they even know where the nearest Starbucks™ is.

Extras. Maybe not absolutely necessary, but these sure make the overall meeting experience that much better and provide extra peace of mind and allow everyone to focus on the task at hand:
• Break out areas for quick, private conversation.
• Nearby restaurants. Not everyone likes the lingering odor of lunch in the room they are meeting in.
• Plenty of parking, ideally free. And in case the meeting goes long, well-lit.
• Easy access. It’s not productive to have someone arrive late because they were lost.
• After hours capability.
• Easy scheduling, preferably online, 24/7.

Fortunately for you all of this, and more, is available in any one of the three conference rooms located at Executive Suites at Lakewood Ranch. The next time you need to meet in Sarasota, Bradenton or Lakewood Ranch, meet at Executive Suites at Lakewood Ranch.