Many small businesses suffer from back-to-back workshops in a poorly designed training room where participants work hard not to notice the bad sight lines, wobbly work stations, hard chairs and boring walls. Consider some new training room ideas and create a new space. A great training environment can have a significant positive impact on employee morale and productivity. Look to training room design guidelines to help you.
Choose a Training Room with an Exterior Door
If possible, choose a training room with an exterior door. Too often, training rooms are located in interior spaces that seriously interfere with the work of employees who are not attending the session. Doors opening and closing, attendees roaming halls on breaks and other work disruptions distract everyone. An exterior door solves the problem and greatly helps everyone's productivity.
Choose the Right Paint Color for your Training Room
Use sound color theory to select paint in the best color for a training room. You can make a training room more conducive to learning if it's painted the right color. Soft blues are too soothing. Red and yellow can jangle nerves.
Consider earthy green (hospitals prefer this color for scrubs for a reason), soft salmon that’s not too feminine, or warm lavender. Talk with a painting pro about how color affects people in a learning environment and you’ll learn plenty.
Use the Correct Type of Lighting
Light up the room with the correct types of fixtures. Fluorescent lighting is no longer the only option for office settings and in this electronic age, lighting must work as efficiently at casting ambient light as it does when computer screens are used during a training session. Take into consideration how much light comes in from windows and take the time to evaluate natural and artificial lighting during morning, afternoon and evening hours for a comprehensive assessment.
Use a Strategic Carpet Color
Cover the training room floor with industrial carpeting to muffle sounds and allow people to move chairs and feet without continually interrupting the presenter. Pick a carpet color that works with the walls and sports a pattern that masks dirt or grime – particularly if your company is located in a region in which attendees drag in snow and dirt five months out of the year.
Maximize Sight Lines
Maximize sight lines so workshop attendees don’t strain to see a screen that’s set up at the wrong height. By elevating the unit that holds the audiovisual transmission equipment – or, best-case scenario, hanging the projection unit from the ceiling – you’ll enhance the ability of everyone in the room to see all of the presentation. Place storage cabinets against walls so they can't block anyone's view.
Allocate Ample Room for Furniture
Allocate ample room for workstations, tables or desks. Americans have stringent personal space issues but this isn’t the only reason to be diligent about space use. If you expect people to juggle a keyboard, handouts, their own electronic or manual writing tools, a bottle of water, a cup of coffee and items folks bring to training sessions, you need to give them enough room to operate.
Try Several Furniture Arrangements
Try several ways of arranging worktables and chairs. The obvious isn’t always the best. For example, a trainer sets rows of two-person desks down a long narrow room with everyone facing front. The view of the white board from the rear is difficult. Arrange the same number of tables in long rows down the center of a room and not only does the area look spacious but the proximity of attendees to the presenter positioned in the middle of the long wall is ideal.
Test the Training Room's Design
Test the room’s design before you hold your first class. Fill the room with people. Have them use the equipment. Make lighting adjustments. Ask attendees work on the computers and project presentation materials onto the screen to get feedback.
As a final note, make certain that cabinets in the training room are stocked with everything from Band-Aids® to power bars so that you–and the room–are ready for any eventuality.
Visit the American Society for Training and Development website for more tips on training room design as well as information on how to train staff.
Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.