Browse any business journal and you’ll soon be confronted by countless articles on how collaboration is essential to innovation. As the byproduct of collaboration, innovation is arguably the most important competitive advantage for any company intent on remaining relevant in today’s economy. Companies committed to success for the long haul must be intentional about creating places where employees can easily collaborate. And that means rethinking the conference room and creating spaces like huddle rooms. Legendary ad executive, Bill Bernbach, put it this way, “An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it.”
The problem: Open plans. The solution: Huddle rooms.
In the past decade, a lot of companies turned to open floor plan office settings in the hopes of fostering an atmosphere of spontaneous collaboration. However, according to a recent article in Fortune, “studies have shown that open office plans decrease productivity and employee well-being, while increasing the number of sick days workers take.” Yikes! So what can you do to ensure your people are able to collaborate with minimal distractions? You can hook them up with well-equipped huddle rooms.
What’s a huddle room?
In the same way a team of football players huddle-up to plan their next moves and take down the competition, a huddle room is a strategically small meeting space that’s designed to empower people to meet quickly and easily. These rooms typically accommodate up to five people and feature the following equipment:
Small space. Big benefits.
There are numerous reasons why huddle rooms are essential to collaboration and the success of individuals and teams in the modern workforce, and below, are our five favorites:
Huddle rooms are intimate spaces: As we noted before, there are several problems that open workspace concepts create, but perhaps the two most harmful to productivity and collaboration are noise and distractions. Huddle rooms solve this problem by providing a quiet space where a small group of collaborators can have an intimate conversation without interruptions. Given the size of huddle rooms, you will want to outfit yours with an all-in-one video conferencing equipment that has a small footprint.
Huddle rooms help remote workers feel included: Many remote workers prefer huddle rooms when it comes to video conferencing because their ability to connect and feel like they are a genuine part of the conversation is enhanced. To ensure your remote workers enjoy true face-to-face interactions, you will want to use large screen TVs and a video unit with a wide angle camera. Highfive devices feature a wide-angle lens with a 120° field of view, which enables remote workers to literally feel like they are in the room.
Huddle rooms require no reservation: Everyone loves the idea of spontaneous collaboration, but it’s hard to carry it out if booking a conference room is only possible two weeks in advance. Because huddle rooms are small spaces, companies can install lots of them throughout the office, which enables people to meet on-the-fly for impromptu brainstorms, problem-solving discussions, and more.
Huddle rooms make the most of office space: Lynn Wilson, Business Developer for office-space design firm, Infinity Group, recommends installing huddle rooms at the intersection of work areas to ensure employees can collaborate easily, and that you get the most bang for your real estate bucks. Wilson also stated more companies are fostering collaboration by turning larger unused spaces into huddle rooms or moving to places where they can have more huddle rooms.
Recently, her firm helped an investment company move to a space that would accommodate more huddle rooms. “In their old space, they had two medium sized conference rooms. In the new space we’re designing for them they’ll have one large conference room and four huddle rooms,” said Wilson.
Huddle rooms enable you to do more with less: Unlike the corporate atmosphere of an executive conference room, huddle rooms provide a more flexible approach to getting work done in a less formal environment, which makes them magnets for millennials seeking a collaboration oasis. However, don’t be fooled by a huddle room’s small size and laid back style. These little dynamos are great for taking care of serious business like webinars, sales presentations, job interviews, and more. Their nimble size also makes them a budget-friendly option since equipping four huddle rooms typically costs less than outfitting one conference room, and yet they offer four times the productivity potential.