- How to create Covid-safe workspaces that people will want to use - 9th June 2020
- Zoom: A quick guide to effective video calling and collaboration - 18th May 2020
- The great home working experiment - 27th April 2020
How to keep in touch and keep performance on track whilst working from home
Anyone who has tried to hold a meeting in open areas will know how frustrating and inefficient they can be. From the time wasted trying to find a free space, to losing connections to the network and being unable to hear each other due to other activities taking place nearby, ad-hoc spaces simply are not conducive to productive meetings.
In this post you’ll discover how you can create effective spaces for disruption-free meetings, including:
- The problems caused by a lack of adequate meeting spaces
- The business trends driving the need for more ad-hoc meetings
- The type of spaces designed for informal catch-ups
- How Hudd.io can help you create collaboration spaces in a simple and cost-effective way
Top of the list is the growth in remote working. In fact, the same Futuresource research also found that 52% of respondents have seen an increase in the weekly average amount of time spent meeting remotely using conferencing technology, something which is expected to increase as the world recovers from COVID-19. In the US, almost one in every three respondents stated that they preferred teleconferencing over face-to-face meetings, suggesting this is a trend that isn’t likely to disappear any time soon.
Although remote working brings benefits to businesses and employees alike – offering employees flexibility and reducing the time and money spent on commuting while increasing their loyalty to their employer and even boosting productivity – one of the big challenges is ensuring these employees continue to feel engaged and part of the team.
Just about every piece of research out there highlights video calls as the key tool in the battle for remote employee engagement. Scheduling in regular calls, defaulting to video always on and opting for informal chats as well as more business-focused conversations are frequently cited tips to ensure teams continue to work together and managers are able to see how their employees are faring with workloads while helping to ensure career progression even for those not in the office every day
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While phone calls and chat tools have a role to play in this, the power of video is crucial. On a professional level, being able to see each other’s body language, facial reactions or physical responses can help managers gain a more accurate understanding of how their team is performing; if they are managing their workloads and understanding the tasks or if they are overwhelmed or unsure of their priorities. On a more personal level, video calls help participants to discover each other’s personalities and encourage teams to build connections based around more than just the workplace.
For those employees who are more office based, a number of factors are also driving this switch to ad-hoc meetings. One is the ever-growing dissatisfaction with open plan offices with their noise, distractions and lack of privacy. Here, the need to have a quick catch-up in a quieter space can be high, which can often lead to breakout spaces and kitchen areas also being used as makeshift meeting spaces.
Similarly, the move towards activity-based working practices, with employees choosing their workspace depending on the task at hand, means people are no longer spending all day sat at their desk; instead they are encouraged to feel able to move around and find the space in which they feel most comfortable.
To respond to all of these trends and to meet the needs of the evolving workspace, it’s important to provide spaces where teams can keep in touch, ad-hoc meetings can be held without any planning or room booking, and people can feel empowered to choose where they want to work in order to complete tasks in the most efficient and effective way possible.
of companies reported that employees have regularly been holding meetings in ad-hoc spaces such as kitchens, foyers and reception areas
Solving problems with huddle rooms
Collaboration spaces such as huddle rooms are central to meeting all of these needs. These small, quiet spaces are designed to be used for multiple tasks across all levels of the business and are proving a huge hit with employees; in fact, according to Nemertes Research, employee demand is the number one factor driving increased deployments of such spaces.
Huddle Rooms and the AV Furniture within are the perfect place to ensure remote workers maintain contact with the office. As highlighted, in order to keep remote workers engaged regular contact – ideally via video – is key, and the availability of huddle rooms and collaboration spaces makes this much easier. Huddle rooms don’t need to be booked so users can simply find a free space and begin their meeting. They’re also designed for shorter meetings between small groups and so quick team catch-ups are one of their primary uses. Finally, the vast majority of huddle rooms are either video enabled or provide space for users to plug in their own devices and begin a call quickly. All of this makes for more efficient meetings that don’t require extensive setup times and elaborate agendas, it’s simply a case of click and call.
Whether being used for a team catch-up, a brainstorming session or a presentation, huddle rooms also have the key benefit of being private, quiet places and so provide respite from the distractions of an open plan office. This also makes them a useful tool in the agile workplace, although here it’s often the case that huddle rooms are used for quiet working away from the main office floor, as well as for team huddles and meetings with other stakeholders.
Installing a huddle room and expecting workers to immediately move to a more agile way of working or expecting remote workers to suddenly embrace video simply isn’t realistic, however, but by adding a suite of collaboration spaces and educating users on the benefits they bring, change will inevitably occur. No matter the environment or the potential use cases for huddle rooms, what’s important is to ensure that there are enough spaces available for users as and when they need them. The good news is that, due to their compact dimensions, huddle rooms don’t take much room in an open office space, which means it’s easy to implement multiple spaces without too much disruption. This will enable teams to get together as needed to collaborate on projects in different areas of the office at the same time. Nor do they require vast amounts of investment – huddle spaces can be configured on pretty much any budget.
In fact, offering a variety of spaces can be important. Yes, a large meeting room and boardroom or two will still have its uses, but splitting larger spaces into two or more huddle rooms, adding similar spaces into the open plan office floor and installing booths or pods in cafes or breakout areas will immediately increase the options available to staff while empowering them to choose where to work and when. Creating collaboration spaces could even be as simple as opting for sound absorbing room dividers complete with display technology to create mobile meeting spaces.
In terms of the technology needed to create a reliable and useful huddle space, videoconferencing is key, and a central display will help to facilitate this while also providing a canvas for collaboration and presentations. In smaller spaces, look for AV furniture that comes with the option of an integrated display to make the most of you room. On top of this, a soundbar could significantly improve the user experience offering speakers and microphones in a compact package, while content sharing tools can help with brainstorming sessions and ideas sharing.
Remember though, these rooms don’t have to be delivered to a high specification so only install tools that will actually be used and that will improve the environment for the user.
On average, remote employees work 1.4 more days every month (or 16.8 more days every year) compared to employees who work in-office
The Hudd.io solution
Despite their flexibility and cost-effectiveness, the complexity of specifying and designing a huddle space can deter people from implementing them across a business. However, Hudd.io makes this process much simpler, less time consuming and even more budget-friendly as there are no consultancy fees to pay.
Armed simply with a rough idea of budget and room measurements it is possible to specify an entire huddle room in minutes. Choose from AV furniture from leading manufacturers such as TeamMate and Unicol and combine it with the latest collaboration technology from partners such as Barco, NEC, Logitech and Viewsonic. And, if budgets are tight, leasing options are also available.
To start designing your own huddle room estate, take a look at our simple online AV furniture configurator to see how you can specify your own huddle room in minutes, or contact Natalie Barnett to find out more.