The Importance of Huddle Spaces
For many businesses, the days of large conference rooms for meetings and video conferencing are dwindling with smaller, connected quick meeting rooms on the rise. Typically these spaces, often referred to as ‘huddle spaces’, include a video screen with an attached camera, a phone system for conferencing, and a central table with four seats or less. So why are companies trending toward these huddle room video conferencing spaces rather than the large presentation rooms we have grown accustomed to?
An increasing amount of employees in all industries are working remotely from home several days each week and even full time. Then there is the ever expanding cloud market that has become accessible to companies of all sizes globally, huddle room video conferencing is becoming increasingly popular. Employees are travelling more often and working varied hours based on clientele around the world. Fewer employees are in the office during typical 9-5 hours, and because of that designated spaces like offices are becoming less necessary.
Open floor plans allow for large spaces to be occupied by cubicles and desks, rather than wasting private spaces reserved for employees that only use their offices a percentage of the time. When these remote and travelling workers are in the building, huddle rooms serve in place of the offices that once went unused. When they are away, huddle rooms are available for use by all employees.
A huddle room can be used to give presentations to an individual or small group in a quiet, enclosed environment. Meetings, brainstorming sessions, and presentations for groups of two to four employees are perfect for huddle rooms. If employees need to meet with prospective clients or members of their team, a huddle room is as available as an office would be. When remote employees need to communicate, huddle room video conferencing allows for a private space to speak. Companies have taken note of the versatility of huddle rooms. Many would rather leave what real estate they have open to the entire company than to one employee.
Increased Work Flow
A traditional presentation room could hold several groups working on separate projects. One group might be at the whiteboard generating ideas while the second presents information to one another over the projector. The third is huddled around a laptop speaking with a remote worker. Each group is disturbing the other and the overall work suffers. Otherwise, a group is alone in the presentation room, two or three people using a space large enough to accommodate twenty. Meanwhile, two other groups can’t meet to collaborate until the first has finished. I am sure we can all relate.
The problem with traditional conference rooms is that, even if you have it for four or five hours, once you finish your time in that conference room you’re supposed to leave it the way you found it. People would write on the whiteboards, put all these sticky notes on the walls, and when they had to leave, someone would have to take a photo. That’s not really a sustainable way to get work done.
Benefits of huddle spaces
With huddle rooms, the first group is in an enclosed space and their ideas are unheard by any but those in the room. The second group is able to view the presentation without their words being lost in the first group’s ideas. The third is set comfortably around a table while the remote employee’s video feed displays on a screen built into the wall, an equal and active member of the team thanks to huddle room video conferencing. In each instance, the groups are offered an intimate and private space that encourages good work habits. Huddle rooms offer companies an array of workplaces that can be used by any and all employees in need.
In many cases, conference rooms are underutilized as they have premium space and equipment, but can be taken (wasted) by small teams looking for a meeting space. By designing these spaces, a company is able to fully utilize conference rooms for large meetings, presentations, and group huddle room video conferencing without giving up space to small groups. Huddle rooms give companies availability, and that availability allows for increased work flow as employees don’t need to plan around one another’s schedules or fight over the use of private workspaces.
There are several ways to utilize huddle rooms separately from traditional conference rooms. To set a basic standard, any huddle room should be equipped with a video screen, interactive whiteboards or large format touchscreens such as C-Touch or the new Microsoft Hub, to allow for quick idea sharing and presentations. A single table should be placed in each huddle room to support collaboration, the rest of the equipment depends on the type of work your employees have to do.
For mobile employees, huddle rooms should provide a way to share content. It is likely that most of a mobile employee’s work will be saved on personal or company distributed devices. A wireless streaming device such as Barco Clickshare CS-100 can allow for mobile employees to connect to the system easily. Finally, a mounted camera, microphone, and speakers can allow for video conferencing with other remote employees or clients.
Many huddle rooms are utilized by teams to collaborate on lengthy projects. To manage the constant fluctuation of these team projects and avoid overbooking rooms, a room scheduling device such as a RoomWizard or an Evoko can be installed. This will allow for employees to manage schedules fluidly by giving comprehensive availability of each room. Many teams will be working in rooms for an extended amount of time. These room booking solutions have now advanced to take into consideration hot desk booking for remote workers coming into the office, a very useful advancement for the modern office.
So with huddle rooms becoming more prevalent in offices spaces, where does that leave conference rooms and traditional meeting rooms in offices of the future?
The small spaces are used for that specific type of collaborative work. A lot of managers will have meetings with a couple of team members in their own office. I see the future for the conference room as there being few of them, but they have more amenities for when the occasion arises. Then having more huddle spaces for when people need to get something quick done or have huddle room video conferencing when they need to share something quickly with each other.
The huddle room is not going to take over the conference room. Financially, it doesn’t make sense to outfit huddle rooms with the types of technology that go into large conference rooms. Practically, conference rooms need to be available for large meetings and presentations, where huddle rooms would be too small. Huddle rooms are needed to augment conference rooms and provide a space for the in-between needs of small groups.
Find the right balance of huddle rooms and conference rooms and your company will see an increase in actual work time and a decrease in wasted space. Time and space are money.
Contact the MVS team for advice on your office space requirements.
Thanks for reading.