With the workforce changing more rapidly than ever before thought has been put into office design and functionality at a whole new level. The addition of new generations to the workforce that communicate and work drastically different than previous generations has been a catalyst for many companies to rethink their current office layout and search out a complete design overhaul. This overhaul can also be the result of finding out that the open space cubicle concept wasn’t the best floorplan when it comes to measuring employee satisfaction and overall productivity. However, converting back to small offices isn’t necessarily feasible do coming up with new ways to meet the needs of today’s workforce and how they work best is at an all time high.

In an effort to combat the open floor plans and new generations shorter attention spans we are seeing the large-scale conference rooms with single projectors and white boards for ideation now being divided into smaller “Huddle” spaces. These new types of spaces are perfect for smaller groups to have a place to meet and collaborate with new tools focused on the sharing of information all the while encouraging teamwork. These huddle rooms can have walls or no walls, and usually accommodate 6 people or less. These spaces foster collaboration within smaller groups and help to re-focus teams. Large format meetings have lost their impact and have become a pejorative rather than being looked forward to.

Next time you’re in a large-scale meeting look for these red flags that have been the downfall to this format of information sharing and collaboration:

  1. People doing other work during the meeting or on their devices.
  2. Obvious day dreaming.
  3. Post-meeting feelings of “this could have been an e-mail.”
  4. Lack of interest by the majority of participants.
  5. Lack of participation by most of the participants.
  6. Technology issues causing time setbacks.

Many of these red flags are overcome easily when switching to Huddle Spaces simply because of the amount of people they can accommodate. Group think lessens in smaller numbers, people are obligated to be more engaged in the meeting when it is small numbers, and the technology used is most often easier to set up since it is used on a more frequent basis. Plus, those post meeting blues of how much time was just wasted on a front focused meeting are gone when collaboration happens and you leave feeling like you actually accomplished something.

Huddle Spaces are exploding due to the limitations caused by large scale conference rooms. Large scale rooms take just that, large spaces, so they are not easily shared because there are often less of them available. Cost is also a large factor, it’s a lot easier to put some collaboration centric furniture in a corner than it is to outfit an entire conference room with AV, décor, and furniture.

Design influence is also open to interpretation and what is best for your office and their needs. If you have an open floor plan office, then the need for a quiet meeting space is apparent and would be most effective however, other offices have a quiet environment with more sectored office spaces so collaboration stations can suffice for huddle spaces. There are even ways to limit time for these spaces such as no power outlets which cause teams to only be able to work for as long as their laptops have battery power or choosing uncomfortable seating over plush to discourage lengthy use. Another integration that works well is scheduling technology that can allow teams to book ad-hoc and immediately see if a room is available without having to check in person. So many times, two or three members of a team will begin to address an issue and realize they’re on to something, it would be ideal with a few clicks of a button to invite the rest of their team to an ad-hoc style ideation meeting to keep the information flowing.

Meeting Room

Huddle spaces can be remote worker friendly with the integration of specified technology for video conferencing and collaboration software. Even further examples than slack, that allows for messaging and file sharing, or google docs are actual shared digital whiteboards with real time updating. The integration of software with these capabilities will boost the effectiveness of any huddle space by taking the collaborative efforts further. The collaboration shouldn’t stop at the whiteboard with a simple photo to capture the information and then be erased for the next room occupants, it should allow that team to continue improving upon the work in an easy format.

Hoylu Connected Workspaces™ is an ideal tool for taking the whiteboarding process digital. It overcomes many obstacles for teams such as confidentiality with password protected workspaces, so ghost marks are no longer a worry. One of the most tedious pre-meeting and post meeting hurdles is when using sticky notes, what do you do with them all, and how do you organize them so they can be used after the meeting time has ended. These complications can all be overcome with Hoylu, sharing a workspace is as easy as sharing a link, a QR Code, or sharing a 9-digit ID.

This new Huddle space concept is revolutionizing creative teams and bringing spark back into teamwork and meetings in general. Larger format meetings aren’t necessarily a thing of the past, but their frequency is decreasing when a focus is put on these smaller sessions within teams to collaborate and experience greater transparency.

Has your office incorporated huddle rooms into their design? Let us know how you like in the comments!


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