How to Use an Office Huddle Room Effectively
More and more businesses are abandoning traditional office layouts in favor of open-office floor plans, which are thought to offer such benefits as better workplace rapport between employees as well as increased collaboration and transparency.
Among other perks, open office floor plans require far fewer square feet of office space to operate, due to the fact that there are no large cubicles, no massive meeting rooms, and fewer superfluous elements overall. This translates to lower operating costs and frequently a cleaner, fresher look and atmosphere. But while the changing structure of an office holds many benefits, it can also suffer without the addition of a key element: huddle rooms.
In this article, we’ll take a look at just what are huddle rooms, what are huddle rooms used for, what does “huddle” mean, why having a huddle room available to your team is so important, and how to use a huddle room most effectively.
What are huddle rooms?
You would probably know a huddle room if you saw it. You might take a look around an office and see, standing alone to the side or middle of an office space, one or two small to midsize huddle rooms with a table, some chairs, and usually some kind of technical setup. In many companies, huddle rooms have large windows or even glass walls, which may be written on with dry erase markers.
This design of huddle rooms makes it easier for those outside of a huddle room meeting to see if the huddle room is in use — and also puts extra responsibility on the team in the huddle room to make sure they are using their time productively, as all eyes can easily be on them.
Huddle rooms usually can accommodate around 4 to 10 people comfortably. In addition to being smaller than a conference room, a huddle room or collaboration room is also less formal. Most huddle rooms include the technology needed to make video conference calls — think a display, a microphone, and a camera — though in some huddle room setups it might just be a display or even no display, and calls can instead be conducted from laptops brought into the room.
What are huddle rooms used for?
Huddle rooms provide a way for employees to hold quick, private, convenient meetings without disturbing those around them. Those huddle room meetings, also known as a “huddle meeting,” can be internal, limited to members of a team or several teams, or they can include visiting clients.
Another major use of a huddle room apart from holding a huddle meeting is to hold phone calls with employees or clients who are located remotely.
Why are huddle rooms important?
What does “huddle” mean? One huddle definition is “draw together for an informal, private conversation.” The primary use of huddle rooms is collaboration, which is why the rooms can also be known as a huddle space or a collaboration room. Instead of standing around a computer in an open floor plan to hold a huddle meeting, which would be distracting to other employees and impractical for those trying to discuss something, employees can go into a huddle space and have an open conversation.
Huddle rooms are less formal than conference rooms and can be built in larger numbers for the same cost or less, making scheduling much easier or even unnecessary.
A key benefit of huddle rooms is that they provide a space where a less structured video conference call can easily take place — for example, a call between a manager and a remote employee on the manager’s team. As the trend for remote employees continues to grow, the availability of a huddle room or huddle space will become increasingly important to the success of a business.
How can a huddle room best be used effectively?
The first step to creating a good huddle room or collaboration room is to keep it small and simple. The idea is to get away from a traditional conference room setting, and a huddle room should, therefore, look different than a conference room. A huddle room should be smaller than a conference room, but can also feel simpler and cleaner, as there’s less need to hold a crowd or put on a fancy display for clients.
A huddle room can fall anywhere from extremely informal — think bean bag chairs or sofas — to semi-formal, such as with stools or simple chairs and small tables. They can also look more traditional, with office chairs and a large central table. The look of a huddle room or collaboration room should fit with the feel of the organization, but the real purpose is how well it fulfills its purpose.
A huddle room should be available to use without scheduling; small team rooms can be added into an office that needs a space midway between a huddle room and a conference room, and those could be scheduled instead. But the whole idea of huddle rooms is to promote collaboration and provide a meeting place when short, informal meetings need to take place.
Make sure your office has a good amount of huddle rooms. Ideally, you won’t have so many huddle rooms that more than one or two will be left empty for any length of time, but you also need to have enough that it’s unlikely a team won’t be able to use one when needed.
If you’re thinking of an office makeover, make sure huddle rooms are included in the new design. They promote collaboration and make it easier for teams to work together and with clients, especially where someone is located remotely, and they’re also more cost-effective than traditional meeting spaces. If success is your goal, huddle rooms are the way to go.