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The science behind a productive meeting

Date: 07 Nov 2016

The quality of ingredients defines the quality of a dish, and although frequently invisible to most, the components of a meeting room defines the quality of the meeting’s output.  Meeting rooms aren't inexpensive and if you are incurring a cost to rent space, you are most probably doing so for an important purpose – whether it is to brainstorm, sell an idea, negotiate or make a presentation.

And yet contrary to popular belief, the majority of meeting rooms are counterproductive to the very purpose that they are utilised. Unfortunately, investing in a meeting space is often money wasted because more often than not they are designed and equipped in a manner that does more damage than good. 

Before you intend on holding your next brainstorming session, here are a few things you need to ensure your meeting room provides:

  1. Natural Light

A recent British study published in “The Responsible Workplace” illustrated that windows and natural light were the number one determinant of the occupant’s level of satisfaction and productivity. The study goes on to explain that not only does it aid a sunny disposition but daylight actually synchronises the mind and body, contributing to overall health. Light calibrates circadian rhythms – the body’s inner clock, regulating aspects like digestion, metabolism, sleep patterns, and hormone levels. Exposure to daylight is the key to regulating these at a healthy level – and thus improving productivity.

In layman terms, natural light defines one’s productivity and happiness, thus producing greater creativity. Yet, most meeting rooms are windowless.


  1. Smaller Spaces

Most meeting rooms tend to be large soulless rooms and yet smaller creative spaces are proven to better forge connection, understanding and trust. The notion that meeting rooms should be open plan with windows to other rooms goes against the aim of creating a sense of privacy, which is important for freeing attendees from distractions and interruptions, whilst leaving introverts pining for private space.

Meeting attendees want to ensure that not only can they not be heard but in many cases, not be seen – especially the contents of their presentation. Face to face interactions without interruption or disruption are by far the most important actions for productivity.

  1. Food & Drink

We all hate being preached to regarding what we should eat and what we shouldn’t.  There is enough content out there on what is healthy and what isn’t.  Health benefits aside, food and drink can benefit or detract from one’s productivity and focus.  Here are a few commonly consumed meeting room consumables that you should be mindful of:

a) Coffee

This sounds like an obvious one but like all things, isn’t as obvious as it may seem.  Although coffee can be a catalyst to productivity, it more often than not does the opposite.

A series of recent studies has shown that 91.7% of coffee beans are contaminated with mould, riddling the beans with “mycotoxins”.  “Mycotoxins” are essentially damaging compounds that cause all sorts of health problems and make the coffee taste bitter. Coffee is one of the largest sources of mycotoxins in the food supply. Even high-end coffee brands are usually processed with methods that allow mould to grow.

You might think that the more expensive types of coffee are less likely to contain mycotoxins but this isn’t the case.  Arabica beans are typically less mouldy than robusta beans.  But even expensive types of coffee are usually processed with methods that allow mould to grow.

With that said, the right type of coffee (i.e. single source) can produce the following benefits:

-          Antioxidants

-          Enhanced mental acuity

-          Enhanced cognitive function

-          Improved Energy Levels

All of which can be incredibly essential to holding a productive meeting.


b) Tea (Green Tea)

Like coffee, tea can be either productive or counterproductive.  When it comes to tea, Green Tea is typically your safest bet: not only is it loaded with antioxidants which are scientifically proven to improve brain function but contains slow release caffeine and the amino acid L-Theanine. This happens to have anti-anxiety effects which can come in handy during those stressful debates.


c) Brain Foods (dark chocolate, coconut, pumpkin & sunflower seeds)

As any scientist knows, any type of ground breaking reaction requires a lot of energy. Brain foods such as coconut, dark chocolate, pumpkin and sunflower seeds contain Omega 3 / 6, magnesium, zinc, antioxidants, folic acid, tryptophan, vitamin E (amongst other nutrients) that are proven to increase happiness, improve blood flow to the brain, increase memory, learning and focus and reduce stress.


 d) Wine

There’s a reason why Jesus turned water into wine.  We aren’t suggesting downing gallons of wine during your meeting but all work and no play isn’t healthy either.  If you hold a productive meeting and intend on parting ways, you have most likely missed the whole purpose of holding the meeting. Whether you are presenting, making a sales pitch, strategizing, etc.  all these entail building trust and nothing forges trust quicker than sharing a glass of wine.



Locke Labs

These are the reasons why our Locke Labs have been carefully designed the way they have. Sited within our trendy hotel in Aldgate, Locke Labs have been meticulously created to cultivate the perfect environment for fruitful meeting space in London - from the Kru coffee and T2 teas, to the views from the 22nd floor overlooking East London.

 For more information on Locke Labs, click here.