Productivity and engagement are enormously important in today’s workplace. In the fast moving business world, keeping up with the competition is driven by how much your employees can accomplish and problem solve, making collaboration key to staying ahead. Add to this that the workforce is increasingly working remotely, whether from home or even the other side of the globe, and you can see why the way employees collaborate is changing.
Informal is the New Norm
The large conference room with pre-scheduled meetings has been a long-standing tradition and still has its place at times, but its usefulness is waning. In their stead, small, informal huddle places are quickly becoming a preferred location for getting things done. Rather than waiting until the weekly Friday meeting to formally discuss the many issues of the week, resulting in a three-hour long-winded discussion, employees today are opting for a more informal and quick conversation on pressing matters. This allows problems to be addressed at a more rapid pace and without a room full of people that may or may not need to be there.
Working Remotely: A Growing Trend
In 2016, 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely, according to a survey conducted by Gallup. This is up from 39 percent in 2012. And a 2016 report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) indicated that 60% of companies offer their employees telecommuting opportunities, which is a threefold increase from 1996. It’s apparent that times are a-changing and along with it, our meeting spaces. Huddle rooms are typically equipped with audio or video conferencing, allowing anyone to jump into a meeting—or more aptly named ‘huddle’—with little preparation. Remote participants can quickly join and be a part of the conversation in much the same way as if they were in the same room. And since there are less people taking up physical space in meeting rooms, it makes sense that the size of a meeting room should be shrinking, therefore saving companies money in terms of real estate needed to foster collaboration.
Technology and the Huddle Room
Huddle rooms need to be self sufficient, without the need for IT personnel to set up equipment, which allows for the informality of a huddle space. There are many different arrangements that can suffice, depending your needs.
- Wireless and BYOD capabilities are a necessary requirement so that every participant can connect quickly and easily.
- Audio or video conferencing needs to be present to connect with remote participants.
- Digital whiteboards allow meeting participants to write and easily share information with everyone in the meeting, whether physically in the room or not.
- PTZ cameras have automatic presets that can allow users to easily zoom in on individuals who are speaking, or zoom out so that a remote participant can simultaneously view everyone at the same time.
- Collaboration software helps teams work together more efficiently with capabilities such as being able to simultaneously edit and contribute to a single file during a live meeting.