Huddle spaces have been growing in popularity in recent years. However with the pandemic – the noise around huddle spaces has quietened. While it’s hard to deny that remote working is going to be a staple part of working life – it’s also a fair bet that it’s not going to be 100% virtual either. Of course this will depend on the organisation and individual preferences.
When we do return to ‘normality’ – there will be a need for a smart work place that will cater for the reality of many moving parts and individuals. And this means the inclusion of huddle spaces.
So first things first…
What is a Huddle Space?
A Huddle space (or also known as Huddle Room) is a small meeting room that can allow for ad hoc and typically quick informal meetings. It usually fits about 3-6 people and is kitted out with the required technology.
A standard huddle Room will be equipped with the following:
- Content Sharing
What are the Benefits of Huddle Spaces?
When done right – these small rooms pack in some big advantages such as:
Benefit #1 Intimate Spaces
Ok admittedly at the time of writing this – you wouldn’t want too close a space. However that will change too as the pandemic goes from the front pages of newspapers to the pages of history books.
In a post-pandemic world, we’ll still be human and for a small group of people – a smaller room is ideal. Too big a room feels impersonal and sometimes communication can be affected.
Benefit #2 Allows for Meetings between remote and non-remote attendees.
This is key. The reality is that for many companies there will be a hybrid approach to working. Whether it’s your employees or clients – using video-conferencing will continue to be a key feature. Huddle spaces can have an advantage in this sense too over bigger conference rooms. With quick and easy face-to-face connection – every person in the huddle room is easily seen and represented giving a life size presence. This is a game changer for the remote attendees.
Benefit #3 Save on space
The office of tomorrow is most likely going to be a much smarter workplace. Through remote workers coming and going and the rise of byod (bring your own device) culture, the need to make the most out of every inch is key. While a larger conference room is required for many organisations, often the everyday meeting just requires a handful of stakeholders at most. This is where the huddle spaces are very powerful. Quick, simple and easy to use.
Benefit #4 Pricing
Huddle spaces are reasonable to set up and are not a major time and financial investment. While of course, to do the job well and to have enduring quality will accrue certain costs – it is understandably more economical than big conference rooms. Depending on your organisation and your needs – a huddle space could be exactly what you are looking for.
Benefit #5 No Reservation Required
We are social creatures and the ability to quickly and spontaneously carry conversation from email to the meeting room is key. This informal nature means that huddle rooms can and should be used as needed and required… making them very popular with the users.
Benefit #6 Better Performance
Science has recognised that on a cognitive level it can be good to shake it up a bit. A change in environment provides a new stimulus for your brain and can actually boost productivity and memory attention. Some studies have shown the diversions can greatly improve focus.
But you already knew that? The simple act of getting up and moving into a different room gives you a new lease of concentration. By using a huddle room when required, you can allow your meetings to be that bit more effective.
What are the Design Considerations of Huddle Spaces?
As mentioned earlier, there are 4 key things to keep in mind:
- Content Sharing
Display in a Huddle Space
You don’t want to all be crouched around a small laptop or tablet? Ensuring a display that is ergonomically friendly at eye level and clearly visible is key. So it’s important to consider the screen size. It should be big enough that text is clearly legible but at the same time, it’s a small room so you don’t need anything to big.
Ensuring every participant in the room can hear and be heard is paramount to the overall experience. Tying into the next point below of video, choosing the right AV equipment will be integral to your decision making.
This will tie into the video conferencing setup you have. However for the most effective collaboration to occur, the ability to share content is key. For people in and out of the room – this is a must for modern meetings.
Further Huddle Space Design Considerations
The modern huddle space should be up to date and equipped in these 4 key areas. Beyond this, there is no right or wrong way to design a huddle room. It can vary greatly from company to company. Let’s look at some other areas to keep in mind when kitting out your huddle room.
You will need to sit down right? Finding smaller seating options and ensuring your comfort is a prerequisite. Considering your overall space and the look and feel you are going for will naturally inform your decision here when it comes to furniture design.
Ideally your huddle room will have a window and thus natural lighting coming through. The benefits of natural sunlight in an office environment have been well documented at this stage ranging from more alertness to overall health and wellness benefits. If your room doesn’t have a window(s), then try and opt for a more softer natural light. Creating the right ambience in your huddle room is integral as you want your employees to ultimately make use of it and enjoy being in the room.
Again a seemingly basic thing but important. Aside from the fact, that ventilation has been a widely discussed feature during the covid-19 pandemic – it’s important to recognise that the huddle space is a smaller enclosed environment and thus sufficient airflow is an important consideration.
While it may seem slightly old school in respect to some of the tech discussed in this article – a writing wall ether (in the form of whiteboard or even a glass wall) can really be great for brainstorming sessions. Having this sort of wall for creativity is a simple way to share ideas and get a point across.
Why the Huddle Room is essential in modern workplace?
Huddle Rooms will continue to be important because that’s what modern employees require. Agility, flexibility and the ability to quickly have meetings with people in and out of the room.
The future of offices and video conferencing are evolving and so too will the traditional sense of meeting rooms. The ad hoc meeting style is growing and so the huddle space provides a simple and easy way to share ideas and brainstorm.
Huddle Room Vs Conference Room
Ok so you know the value of huddle spaces. But how do you pick between a huddle space and a bigger more traditional conference room?
The answer is that will of course vary from company to company. Depending on the service you provide, your remote working policy, number of stakeholders in a given meeting, budget etc. These are all different factors to consider.
However it’s likely (especially for bigger companies) that it’s not a question of one or the other. Both have value but for different reasons. That said, the number of participants physically in the room is going to go a long way towards answering that question. Huddle rooms for most businesses are budget friendly options that can be great for doing all the essentials such as webinars, interviews, presentations etc.
The Real Reason Huddle Spaces are on the rise?
Often those innocuous conversations that are halfway between a hallway and a large conference room are the kind of exchange that can usefully happen in a Huddle room. We are talking about more than just sharing a funny meme, or even a work-related flowchart on your iPhone. Typically it might be a quick casual conversation about a work issue that would benefit from a little privacy but equally does not need to be planned and booked in advance. Furthermore, it has less complex logistic and technical requirements than a monthly meeting of division heads, for example.
Huddle Rooms are informal. And it’s here where the magic of creativity can happen. Not everything can or should be planned and orchestrated. Seizing the moment in an ad hoc fashion – is one of the core strengths of huddle rooms.
Final Words on Huddle Rooms – Are you ready for better Collaboration?
A huddle space is a worthy investment for all business sizes. By allowing for more natural and productive collaboration and communication – your meetings with people in and out of the office will improve.
If you require advice on setting up your Huddle Space with the required tech and need a trusted AV supplier for the job, we are happy to help. Please get in touch with us to discuss.