Let’s say you and your small team need to chat quickly about a project. You don’t need a very official or super serious department meeting, and you don’t need to reserve your main conference room for an hour, either. Where do you go?
Meeting at someone’s desk isn’t ideal, especially if your office has an open floor plan, because of all the noise and distractions. Plus, what if you need to rope in a couple of remote coworkers or map something out on a whiteboard?
Enter the “huddle room.”
I mean that literally: Enter your huddle room. It’ll be the perfect meeting spot for your brief team chat. Don’t know what a huddle room is? Let me explain.
What is a huddle room?
A huddle room is a small, typically enclosed meeting space, often equipped with conference-calling and video conferencing capabilities, that teams can hop into for brief meetings, brainstorming sessions, recaps, or other quick get-togethers that won’t take long but should happen face-to-face (or at least face-to-digital-face).
Due to open floorplans and an increased need for collaboration, huddle rooms are on the rise. According to a Frost & Sullivan survey, 50% of all organizations have already deployed huddle rooms, while another 30% are planning to do so in the next year. You might see them take the form of a “phone booth” kind of a space, mini-conference room, or even an open seating area away from people’s desks.
Here’s why huddle rooms work so well in today’s modern offices.
3 Reasons Huddle Rooms Rock
1. They let small groups meet away from the distractions of the main office space.
This is a huge benefit if you and your colleagues work in an open floor plan. You won’t need to try talking with your team out in the open, and you won’t need to book the big conference room for an hour. Huddle rooms are great for impromptu chats where you get stuff done.
2. They let geographically distributed teams meet anytime, hassle-free.
With a huddle room, you and a coworker or two can close a door, fire up your video conferencing app, and start brainstorming with your remote teammate. No distractions, and need to reserve a meeting room.
3. They encourage substantive, no-BS meetings that are no longer than they need to be.
Frost and Sullivan describes huddle rooms as “collaboration hot-zones” that “support the kind of business transformation that will define successful companies in 2018 and beyond.”
Because they’re designed specifically for short, ad-hoc conversations, you and your team won’t feel the pressure to stretch your huddle room powwows to last the full hour. You can hop in, have your chat, and hop right back out. This makes huddle rooms great for a ton of different use cases including sales calls, one-on-ones, webinars, or even some solo quality quiet time for when you really need to buckle down.
Here’s a plan to establish a huddle room that’s right for your company.
Four Steps to Huddle Room Success
Step 1: Set Goals for Collaboration
Identify what your ideal collaboration space will look like and what it will be capable of. Will you need conference calling only, or will you want to add videoconference capability? How about screen-sharing ability, for brainstorming sessions? What functionality will you want to equip your remote teams with, so they can virtually join your teams in the huddle room? Will you want identical setups for your other offices as well?
Step 2: Benchmark Your Current Collaboration Processes
Now that you’ve figured out what the ideal collaboration environment will look like, you can determine how far off your teams are today. Do you have any of this communication and collaboration technology already? A conference-calling service? A screen-sharing app? How about a mobile meeting app so someone on your team can join your huddle room meeting even if she’s on the go?
Step 3: Identify the Communication Tools You’ll Need
You know what functionality you want for your collaboration environment, and which if any of those capabilities you already have. Now you can start searching for the communication and collaboration technologies that will support your huddle rooms (and your entire workforce). Ideally, you will roll out a seamless communication platform that lets you empower your entire organization—not just your huddle rooms but every employee and remote team member, on every device they use.
Step 4: Make an Action Plan
Now it’s time to develop your action plan. You’ll need buy-in from management. You’ll need to work closely with your IT or operations teams to help source and roll out these new technologies. And you’ll need to let your organization know about the new strategic spaces you’re creating and how to use the cool collaboration tools they’ll be equipped with.
Go… start huddling. Good luck!