Huddle Rooms: Where Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork

Collaboration is essential in today’s business environment. It enables teams to be quicker and more effective in achieving shared goals. Most traditional office environments are not conducive to collaboration, however. While cubicles can be helpful for allowing employees to shut out distractions and focus on the work at hand, they do not encourage collaboration by their very nature.

That being said, open offices aren’t a great alternative either. Open offices have been popularized in recent years with the hopes that they would foster spontaneous collaboration, but studies have shown that open offices actually hurt productivity and even cause workers to take more sick days.

So, how can employers solve the collaboration problem? Huddle rooms are the answer.

Huddle rooms, also known as breakout rooms, are small meeting spaces that are designed to support smaller groups and ad-hoc meetings. Huddle rooms are less formal in nature than typical conference rooms, so they are popular with millennials.

A huddle room typically has the following characteristics and features:

  • Designed for small meetings (2-6 people)
  • Private enclosed space, ad-hoc, or scheduled
  • Usage: conferencing, presentation, collaboration
  • Equipment: display, audio from built-in display speakers, wireless collaboration/presentation system, connectivity from table to display, BYOD capabilities, display-mounted camera, conference speaker phone, cloud-based video conferencing, room scheduler
  • Application-specific furniture

Huddle rooms are primarily used for small teams to come together to collaborate. These are private, enclosed spaces that lend themselves to involved collaboration sessions. Huddle rooms can include medium-sized interactive displays, dedicated PCs, and connections for both laptops and handheld devices. Generally designed to facilitate collaboration for groups of two to six people, BYOD capabilities also increase the huddle rooms’ usability. Integrating a camera linked to the interactive display will allow employees to conference directly from their BYOD devices or utilize desktop & mobile conferencing solutions such as Skype for Business or Cisco Jabber. Lastly, consider some non-technology collaboration options in this space, including a whiteboard.

When huddle rooms first came about, they did not require bookings. You could just grab any available huddle room at any time to meet virtually with remote colleagues, chat with clients, or host ad-hoc meetings. However, managing huddle rooms with a meeting room booking system like Resource Central and conference room signs is highly recommended to prevent certain employees from dominating the use of huddle rooms, treating them like their private offices. When workers take a short break, they might go to the huddle to relax. If another worker is there, they may start chatting, making others feel unwelcome. Digital signs can be placed right outside of the huddle rooms, so employees can quickly view the room’s schedule and determine whether the room is free and book it on the spot.

Huddle rooms aren’t just another passing trend. They are a part of the modern workplace’s evolution to become more flexible and agile. Huddle rooms allow employees to quickly meet or access a private space without the fuss. Managers have become increasingly concerned about the real usage of the rooms. If huddle rooms are properly used, however, they offer a number of benefits to employers.  

With an increasingly flexible and mobile workforce, more office space is likely to sit unused at any given time. Turning available space into huddle rooms helps companies maximize the use of space and minimize costs. Equipping a huddle room is less expensive than equipping a traditional conference room.

Unlike open office layouts, huddle rooms cut out distractions because they offer a small, intimate space where employees can focus solely on the discussion or heads-down work that needs to be done. Huddle rooms eliminate interruptions and block out noise.

Huddle rooms also pose numerous benefits for companies that have remote employees. Due to their small size, huddle rooms give remote attendees the feeling that they are truly a part of the conversation during video calls. This helps to boost the morale and productivity of remote employees.

Huddle rooms are best placed right at the intersection of work areas to make it easier for employees to collaborate. Companies can turn large, unused spaces into multiple huddle rooms. It might even make sense for some companies to move to a new office building in order to accommodate more huddle rooms. For example, rather than having two large conference rooms, a small business might be better off moving to a facility where they can have a single conference room and three to four small huddle rooms instead.

For more information about effectively managing huddle rooms with a resource booking tool for Microsoft Outlook®, Exchange, and Microsoft 365, contact us today to sign up for a free demo of Resource Central.

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