One of the biggest trends driving the huddle room revolution is the open office floor plan. Today, many businesses are opting for fewer stand-alone offices and more shared working spaces that promote communication and aid in productivity. According to recent market trends identified by Frost & Sullivan, huddle rooms are projected to replace almost 70% of all meeting rooms by 2022. Here is a full breakdown of huddle room benefits and technology trends to help you future-proof your offices with efficient and productive huddle rooms.
What is a huddle room?
A huddle room, or small meeting room, is a meeting space designed for small teams (usually 3–6 people) to collaborate on projects and conduct video conference calls. Perfect for both impromptu working sessions and scheduled meetings, huddle rooms give teams a way to work more effectively without having to reserve a large conference room.
5 benefits of huddle rooms
Businesses of all sizes and industries, coworking spaces and universities have all started to build out these agile little rooms as a way for small teams to work together more effectively. Huddle rooms are typically inexpensive to outfit and require little physical space, and many would argue that they’re the most productive rooms in the building. Here are the top five benefits of deploying huddle rooms:
1. No reservations required
Many organizations choose to deploy huddle rooms without a reservation system. That way teams can have a place to meet for an impromptu working session without having to stop what they’re doing and create a scheduled meeting.
2. Turn underutilized small rooms into efficient spaces
Most small meeting spaces are underutilized because they lack the technology required for productive meetings. To help solve the issue of underutilization, video conferencing providers have started to develop video conferencing systems optimized for huddle rooms and small meeting rooms, making it easy for organizations to outfit their huddle rooms with all the benefits of video conferencing.
3. Save large conference rooms for large meetings
According to recent research by analyst firm Frost & Sullivan, 75% of all meetings in large conference rooms are among just three to four people, making the rest of those empty chairs just a waste of space. Huddle rooms are perfectly sized for small team syncs.
4. Ideal for remote team members
Huddle rooms give teams and remote workers the ability to connect face to face for any meeting or quick team sync throughout the day. And while traditional conference rooms are great for hosting large groups and capturing everyone in the room on video, huddle rooms are perfectly sized to give everyone a life-sized presence in the online meeting. The regular cadence of video calling in huddle rooms can make remote teams feel less remote.
5. Inexpensive to set up
Smaller work spaces have smaller budgets and require less complexity, so the technology in the room must be cost-effective and easy to use. DIY video huddle room kits and purpose-built huddle room solutions can be installed for less than the price of an employee laptop. And with a long-managed life cycle of six to eight years, you’ll get continued value for years to come.
Top 3 tips for a productive huddle
We recently published our tips and tricks guide for hosting a successful video conference call, and while all of the tips can lead to a successful huddle room meeting, these three perfectly fit the smaller size and ad-hoc nature of the huddle room:
1. Keep the meeting right-sized
The limited size of a huddle room is a great analogy for the size of a functional team to collaborate and get work done. The more people that join the huddle, the more distracting things can be. Use large conference rooms for the initial brainstorm session, then use huddle rooms for breakout sessions and meet back in the conference room to share content and findings.
2. Optimize the huddle room for video
Most huddle rooms are designed with a single display mounted on the wall and a meeting room table pushed right up against the wall. Smaller rooms like huddle rooms should prioritize a wide-angle field of view lens to help capture meeting participants sitting close to the camera.
3. Don’t forget to be yourself
We’re well past video conferencing being solely used for quarterly boardroom meetings with your executive team — it has transformed into a daily way of communicating face to face. Just like texting, talking on the phone or walking over to your colleague’s desk and chatting in person, the video conferencing experience is about what’s being discussed. So don’t fret when it comes to getting on camera — just be yourself!
How to set up your huddle room: 5 must-haves for any great huddle space
Whether your office is just starting to build out huddle room solutions for small teams or you’re looking for a way to optimize your old phone rooms with modern collaboration technology, you’ll want to include these five must-haves in your design:
Follow your corporate culture when deciding on the styles for your huddle rooms — styles, plural, because many companies are opting for a unique look for each space. The limited square footage of a huddle room allows you to make bold choices without having to completely renovate the entire office. The typical room will have seating for four to five with durable work surfaces. If huddle/conference room design and interior decorating aren’t your forte, source help from an agency or consult your favorite search engine for ideas. Here are some keywords to get you started: modern office, great huddle room and creative office.
Okay, your room is decked out with stained concrete flooring, a reclaimed barn door, exposed pipes, airplane-grade aluminum tabletops and Herman Miller® chairs — now what? It’s time to bring in the technology that turns your stylish sitting room into a built-for-doing huddle room. Whether you’re brainstorming concepts for the latest marketing video or analyzing data in a sales report, the availability of a display to screen share is critical for this space. Teams shouldn’t have to rely on gathering around a laptop to view a presentation or video conference with another group. The prices of displays have dropped dramatically in the past few years, so go as big as your budget allows — but remember that it’s still a small space, so the 42”–50” range is probably sufficient. When deciding on a mounting height, we recommend staying close to eye level, especially when equipping rooms to connect with one another with a huddle room video conferencing solution.
Be it traditional white enamel, interactive smart or just a pane of glass, make sure you don’t overlook the ability to write out ideas and concepts in the huddle room. Whiteboards can act as a parking lot for ideas you’re not ready to act on, help you visualize your priorities and provide an easy method to modify ideas when you realize that there were a few bad ones in that “no idea is a bad idea” brainstorm. At the end of your meeting, simply snap a few pictures of your work so you don’t have to write it down again.
With many offices transitioning to a more open floor plan concept, it’s more important than ever to have designated collaboration spaces free from noise and distractions. Sound insulation prevents noise leakage in and out of the room, and a professional-grade microphone setup can significantly increase the audio quality of a meeting with native ambient noise reduction and full room coverage.
Natural lighting has been connected to better health and increased engagement in employees. It is a wonderful addition to many meeting spaces, but care should be taken to provide lighting control in meeting rooms with windows. Rooms in direct sunlight at the wrong time of day can look washed out on video, and a light source directly behind a subject can create a harsh silhouette.
5. Video Connectivity
Video conferencing allows team members to have a seat at the meeting from wherever they are. So if your team includes teleworkers, people located at another campus or coworkers who travel regularly, a video conferencing solution is a smart investment to maintain your group collaboration and connection. When equipping your huddle room with video conferencing, be sure to look for a solution that’s easy to manage and use, meets your security and reliability requirements, and above all else, helps your teams feel as connected as possible. Lifesize Dash™ kits are huddle room solutions designed for device flexibility, while Lifesize® Icon 300™ gives you a proven all-in-one solution with 4K full-motion content sharing for a premiere huddle room experience.
Lifesize can help keep video conferencing equipment manageable for any huddle room, all while providing clear audio and video technology and empowering workers to collaborate in an efficient environment.
Ready to get started with Lifesize huddle rooms?
At Lifesize, everything we do is designed, built and supported to make the user experience excellent and effortless from day one. After more than fifteen years of developing huddle room and conference room systems, wireless meeting room presentation devices, video conferencing apps and the global cloud network that ties it all together, we don’t settle for anything less than amazing. Lifesize delivers an unmatched unified meeting experience that you can trust to work the first time, every time. Schedule a demo with a Lifesize video conferencing expert to see a Lifesize huddle room solution in action.