Essential tools to get the most out of your small meeting rooms

All meeting rooms are not created equally; they can vary in size, use cases, the technology within them, and in many more ways. It’s important to recognize these differences in order to equip each space in a way that will ensure employees get the most out of them.

In this blog we’ll look at the technology needed to make small meeting rooms work for users, including:
  • How huddle rooms are used now and in the future
  • The audio and video technology needed to enable this work
  • Additional factors that will take your huddle room to the next level
  • How can help

First of all, it’s important to understand how your huddle rooms are being used, and how this is likely to change in the short to medium term as workers begin returning to offices in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the past, most small meeting rooms have been used primarily for quick, ad hoc catch-ups, presentations or calls with remote team members, and to some extent this will continue. However, whereas in the past these rooms would accommodate multiple team members, now they are likely to be used by individuals or pairs reaching out to those outside the office. This will make huddle rooms the key tool in the important task of keeping remote employees engaged and informed at a time when entire departments being in the same building together at the same time is still some way off.

During this time it is also likely that the tasks being conducted in the huddle room will also grow to include individual work, video calls and client-facing conversations. With this in mind it is more important than ever that the technology and environment of your huddle spaces is conducive with effective working while also portraying your company in a professional manner to external stakeholders.

The good news is that huddle rooms are inherently designed to be flexible spaces so ensuring they can meet these needs while also adapting to any further changes in working styles doesn’t have to be difficult – or expensive. The key is to invest in the technology and tools that facilitate these common use case while avoiding complicated systems that require multiple passwords and logins, including no overpowering items such as large displays or boardroom tables and no room booking systems that add complexity and additional shared touchpoints that simply are not needed.

Top huddle room tech

meeting room in action

Smaller meeting spaces should be created with agility, flexibility and usability in mind. So what should the ideal small meeting room include in its inventory?

Top of the list is a videoconferencing solution. In these times of remote working, disparate teams and global clients, it is essential that you have a reliable VC setup. Often this will include platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Cisco Webex – intuitive tools that users will rely on in their everyday lives and which require little to no training.

A central display will immediately make the room much more useable, ensuring those at the far end of a call can be seen by everyone and making the sharing of content much more effective than it would be if everyone was sharing a single laptop. In these times of social distancing wide-angle cameras that can naturally frame meeting participants even in a small space are a must so that users don’t have to squash together or move around in order to be seen by those at the far end. Options include Logitech’s MeetUp all-in-one conferencing camera which can be mounted at the display – taking a potential shared touchpoint off the table – while automatically adjusting camera position and zoom to find and frame people in the room.

While the visual elements of a small rooms are important, it’s equally crucial to consider the audio side of a conference call; relying on laptops and consumer-level software platforms can result in a poor quality experience which in turn can lead to user frustration. A professional audio setup can be one of the best investments you make when it comes to user uptake. A simple soundbar could significantly improve the user experience, offering speakers and microphones in a compact package. All in one video and audio soundbars can also be an option. These packages often include a dedicated control device, again providing a simple solution designed to work in small spaces.

This ease of use should provide the template for the remaining technology in your room. So, if you decide that content sharing tools are important for your huddle room, opt for solutions specifically designed for these smaller spaces as user experience will likely be front of mind when they were developed. This could take the form of content sharing at the touch of a button, annotation by multiple users, and document saving and sharing.

With users likely to be nervous of touching multiple shared tools for the foreseeable future, also look for those that will enable BYOD such as Barco’s ClickShare wireless presentation system or Airtame’s wireless screen sharing solution. Many of these systems also offer remote management and support tools, meaning that even if your AV/IT teams can’t always be on site, they can still check in and quickly resolve any issues.

Future proofing your solution

To create a huddle space that works now and in the future, it’s important to consider more than just the AV and IT setup, however. Huddle rooms need to be quiet enough to offer a space for individual work, yet centrally located so they can be dropped into whenever the need arises. They need to be able to comfortably accommodate social distancing employees for significant lengths of time while also providing the flexibility to encourage team collaboration when safe to do so. They also need to be suitable for conducting video calls, something which will be a key part of their role both now and in the future.

To achieve all of this, the design and fixtures within the huddle room also need to be considered carefully. So, consider opting for locations that offer a quiet space away from the main working area or invest in sound absorbing fabrics and furniture. TeamMate’s Evolve range of sound absorbing screen dividers can be a flexible addition to any space, offering mobile sound absorption panels combined with a screen mounting solution.

Also when it comes to furniture, dedicated AV furniture can help employees to feel safe in the shorter term while offering robust, flexible setups that will stand the test of time. Built in sockets, for example, remove the need to locate floor-level charging points, while bespoke sizes and configurations will enable users to maintain social distancing while providing a comfortable space once all team members return.

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How can help has everything you need to design and configure these spaces in no time at all with our online configurator, which will guide you through each step. This includes communication and collaboration tools that reduce the reliance on shared devices, AV furniture that can be fitted with screens should spaces be utilised by more than one person, content sharing tools that will ensure all team members are able to fully participate in meetings no matter where they are located as well as support services to ensure your rooms can be fully utilised now and in the future.

If you’d like to find out more about how to configure your small meeting and huddle room spaces, try our online huddle room configurator now or Natalie Barnett.