Not everyone likes assembling around a table or sitting up straight. And not every meeting calls for a traditional conference room.

Meetings today are often collaborative and democratic, and they’re most effective in a space that matches that communal dynamic.

Successful meetings need adaptable spaces.

This reality explains the design trend to incorporate more relaxed, reconfigurable meeting spaces in the modern workplace. Companies are responding to workers’ desire for more lounge-like areas that accommodate various uses and postures.

The desire for easy, flexible meeting spaces is linked to two other office trends we’ve blogged about here: the movement to let the work environment take on a more residential feel and the effort to bring the “third place” into the workplace as an in-office retreat.

These trends acknowledge what office workers experience to be true every day: that brainstorming sessions, spontaneous one-on-ones, and informal presentations all tend to feel more natural, more personal, in a comfortable office lounge.

To think about what these multifunctional lounges might look like, consider three real-life examples:

At the Quicken Loans headquarters overlooking downtown Detroit, clusters of Bob Lounge Chairs provide a popular meeting space for groups of three or four.

The Await Lounge System easily accommodates casual conferences and impromptu conversations at Grand Valley State University ’s Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons.

DIRECTV'S Digital Innovation Lab in Los Angeles incorporates flexibility into its design with lounge furniture, like the Hosu Lounge, that can be moved to create the spaces need for the work that needs to be done at that moment. Employees are empowered to rearrange the furniture to create workspace in the lab for individual or group work.

To dig deeper into “in-between space” design concepts, see our lounge space planning ideas.