18th July 2017
I first heard the term ‘huddle room’ around the summer of last year, and I’ll admit, I thought it was just a ‘hipster’, millennial term for a conference room. A fad that would soon fizzle out.
I stand corrected.
There’s a reason why collaboration is encouraged in schools from a young age, right through to university projects. It’s to prepare them for the big, bad world of work! We’ve previously discussed how working in silos in the workplace is not the most desirable approach for productivity or creativity.
Working collaboratively, as part of a team, helps ensure that innovation happens. Idea-sharing, feedback, suggestions – these all happen much more effectively when working in a team, as opposed to working individually.
There’s no set definition for a huddle room. In fact, it could vary drastically from company to company. But there are some traits it should have. It should accommodate between 4 to 6 people, and provide an informal meeting space for ad hoc meetings. They shouldn’t be pre-bookable rooms. They should be designed to empower people to meet quickly and easily.
Huddle Rooms make the most of office space. In fact, they don’t even need to be rooms at all – they can be Huddle Spaces. This allows a company to utilise every bit of space in their office, providing more meeting spaces for productivity and collaboration, not to mention getting more bang for their buck. There are some great examples of Huddle Spaces in our eBook “The World’s Coolest Collaboration Spaces”.
The very nature of Huddle Rooms allows a small group of people to come together and have a discussion without being interrupted. Because they are an intimate space, remote employees joining a meeting feel a part of that meeting much more. It’s like they are sitting in the Huddle Space with everyone.
Just because Huddle Rooms are characteristically small in size, doesn’t mean you should forego equipment. Huddle Rooms are more powerful and efficient spaces than typical conference rooms because they are equipped with excellent technology.
It does go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway – your Huddle Room needs furniture. You should follow the culture of your company when choosing it. The small size of Huddle Rooms means you may need to put more thought into the layout of furniture, but it will be worth it. Comfy tub chairs and coffee tables. Bar stools and high tables. Or follow the likes of Apple, and have a genius bar. It really is up to you. However, you need to ensure that there is enough seating space for four to six people, and an accompanying surface to work on.
A super effective Huddle Room should have a large format display, video conferencing capabilities, and collaboration tools. After all, one of the main points of Huddle Rooms is to enhance collaboration between employees.
A large format display
This could be a TV screen, monitor, projector – whatever you decide. The typical mindset where the boardroom is concerned is “kit it out with the best”. In Huddle Rooms the technology should be “good enough” for what you need it to do, but there isn’t the same need to buy the most expensive display out there. However, you do need a central display for employees to screen share, and cast content. Whether this is a product roadmap, or ideas for the latest marketing campaign, having a display that people can share to, and focus on, allows everyone to focus on the same thing, and provide suggestions.
Huddle Rooms don’t need to be exclusive to employees who are traditionally in the office. Open up your Huddle Rooms so employees can invite remote workers, customers, partners, or any external shareholders to a meeting.
Now for the fun part. For a truly productive Huddle Room, you need collaboration tools. This could be anything from a whiteboard, to collaborative software with annotation and real-time idea sharing. Whiteboards are invaluable during initial brainstorms. Traditional whiteboards are useful, but digital ones are even better. There’s nothing like putting digital ink to digital canvas to see an idea come together. And if your brainstorm turns out to be revolutionary, you can save that whiteboard and share it to your colleagues. (Likewise, if it turns out to be a bit of a flop, erase erase erase. No one needs to know it ever happened!)
Wireless Presentation Systems include this digital whiteboard and combine it with screen-sharing, allowing your Huddle Room attendees to cast their content to the main display at the same time. Even better, they allow remote employees to case their content as well, and with them communicating via video conferencing, it feels like they are in the same room. Everyone can annotate over content in real-time, save the new version, and share to their colleagues. This allows for feedback and suggestions in real-time, and work can actually be progressed during the meeting – not after.
There you have it – 3 must-have features of a truly effective Huddle Room.
We hope we’ve inspired you to transform that small space in your office that isn’t being utilised. By leaving this space disused you are missing out on huge efficiency gains. It’s a small initial cost which converts into long-term results. What are you waiting for? Get creative and build a Huddle Space! Our eBook will help get you started.
Good luck and Happy Huddling!
Your Huddle Room won't be complete without a wireless presentation and collaboration solution. To see Montage in action, book a demo now!