The Benefits of Huddle Spaces
The growing trend in open office design continues with millennial-dominated companies leading the charge. Successfully increasing the communication and engagement that traditional office layouts can inhibit, the open office is often a cheaper and more flexible option. However, the open plan design doesn’t always lend itself to achieving maximum employee productivity.
You probably recognise some of the below scenarios; whether they affect you or your team, these issues are highly frustrating but unfortunately very common. To keep productivity as high as possible organisations need to be on top of addressing these modern-day workspace issues.
Imagine the scenario, you are working diligently at your desk trying to solve a problem, you’re getting there….and then someone asks you a question and the thought disappears, if only you had been in a quiet space, you would not have been disturbed. Research has shown it can take 23 minutes to get back on track once you have been distracted. Or imagine… you are part of a creative team working on an important project, suddenly a thought hits you and you want to share it with the rest of your team and brainstorm it further, but there are no meeting rooms available and some of the team work remotely. Or, how about when you’ve arranged to Skype your client and you don’t want your colleagues bobbing around in the background being a distraction. Do you get the picture? Sometimes there is an obvious need for these Huddle Space environments to assist employees to work as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Huddle rooms are essentially small private meeting areas where employees can meet informally for both impromptu and scheduled discussions and brainstorming sessions, without distracting or being distracted by their open space colleagues.
The benefits of Huddle Spaces
By incorporating huddle rooms into the office, it’s possible to get the ideal working environment – the great communication and engagement of the open plan design with privacy, collaboration and thinking space when its needed. Whilst supporting different individual working styles, they also support the inclusion of remote colleagues in team discussions, enabling vital contributions, driving engagement and ensuring everyone is kept up to date.
Designed to be used by individuals and small groups of 4 to 6 people, they are typically fitted with a display for sharing content and incorporate facilities for video conferencing – either from the user’s own laptop or, more likely, as part of an integrated system built into the space. In undertaking an audit of your existing open floor space, this will help identify empty or underutilised areas, maximising office space, and ensuring that all important return on cost per sq. f.t
Huddle rooms support one to one and team collaboration, either in person or through video, for colleagues both in and out of the office. Incorporating traditional or digital whiteboards, full video conferencing facilities with content sharing and the latest technology solutions provide an easy to use and cost-effective alternative to a traditional meeting, conference or boardrooms.
Huddle room design can be standardised, making them quick to procure and deploy – providing that key element – consistent user experience. With every deployment operating in the same way, this reduces the need for training and support – good news for your IT and facilities teams.
Lastly and by no means least, huddles present a more relaxed, informal, social and happier office environment – one which employees will love to work in, want to work in and ultimately thrive in. Huddle rooms provide the forum where conversations transition into collaboration, and overall increased productivity - and that’s got to be good for business all round.
Helping you to maximise your office space and plan for huddle
When planning for your huddle room, there are a number of technical design elements to consider.
- What type of device do your employees use in their day to day work? What are they likely to bring to a huddle space? How should you support visitors who may also want to present their content?
Whatever device they bring, a laptop, tablet PC or mobile device, it should be possible for them to share content to the discussion – using either a wired or wireless connection. You need to make sure that the room or designated area, supports the different connection types that accompany todays BYOD culture, and that the solution provides a simple and repeatable connection method – remember those support costs and adoption rates!
- Who will your employees need to contact through video conferencing links?
You may have an internal standard for video conferencing, Microsoft Skype for Business is common place for many companies but there are several other options that may be in place.
You should also consider how often you may need to conference with external parties – do they use the same video service that you do or are they on another platform? If they are then it may be appropriate to consider a suitable service provider who can support full interoperability across the various standards that are in common use. Of course, whatever you choose needs to integrate with the other parts of the huddle space to support content sharing from their device of choice
- Are you being heard? Don’t forget about the audio side!
The audio is often taken for granted but it’s absolutely critical to a successful meeting – it’s one thing if you can’t see someone or share content, but quite another if you cannot hear them properly, just imagine the misunderstandings that can take place and not to mention the time wasted.
The audio in a huddle space can easily be managed by an integrated video conferencing system. If a non-integrated video system is to be used (as would be the case if an employee uses their own laptop or tablet) then it’s worth considering how this may affect the quality and efficiency of the meetings. Remember those support costs and user experiences.
- Should the spaces will be ‘bookable’?
Although one of the attractions of a huddle room is the ability to have spontaneous access, you may also want to consider how many of the rooms should be bookable, especially if the intended use is for meeting with an external client. And ultimately these spaces will be in high demand so how do you manage that? Having them on your existing room booking system would be a good option.
Move towards more open collaboration
Businesses are now realising the multitude of benefits which huddles spaces and open collaboration brings. Fostering a culture of collaboration drives productivity through creative and synergised thinking, wellbeing through social interaction and engagement, as well as cost efficiencies with space utilisation.
To find out how to implement huddle rooms within your office environment, book a free consultation to discuss maximising on existing common areas and underutilised floor spaces, or to review your audio visual meeting room or future meeting room requirements please contact:
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