In recent weeks and months, very few aspects of life have been left untouched as coronavirus has taken hold across the globe; streets have become deserted, workplaces closed down and leisure spaces heavily restricted at best.
While there are few of us who aren’t looking forward to life returning to normal in the future, there’s perhaps one area that looks likely to change permanently due to the pandemic – the workplace.
As governments around the world either advised or required employees to no longer travel to work unless they were providing essential services, corporations of all sizes and operating in every sector hurriedly looked to introduce some level of remote working in order to avoid a complete shutdown of commercial activities.
For many this was their first experience of trying to co-ordinate teams of home workers, and often the knowledge and technology wasn’t necessarily in place to achieve this. However, what has surprised so many people out there is that, despite this lack of planning, it was relatively simple to find and use tools that allowed teams to keep in touch and continue to operate effectively.
Perhaps the most commonly discussed example of this is Zoom, which saw monthly active users up by 186% in March, however Microsoft Teams, Slack and Hangouts have also proved popular. While video calls are central to this, document sharing and collaboration have also been crucial in helping teams to work in a way that more closely replicates the office environment.
The realisation of how much can be achieved while working remotely, and just how much technology can enable this, has been transformative for many businesses and there seems to be a consensus in many sectors that this is one area that will not simply return to normal once restrictions on travel and gathering in groups are lifted.
Across an enterprise, building on this move to remote working has clear benefits for all: employees have more flexibility and no longer have to spend time and money commuting every day; and businesses can reduce their costs if they no longer have to provide work space for all employees – the cost of a desk per person per annum is between £12,000 and £14,000 in London so this could be a serious cost saver.
Of course, the rush to create home working setups in response to the current crisis hasn’t been without its pain points, something that highlights the importance of having a coherent remote working policy. Employees need to have the right setup in place to do their job effectively, this includes ensuring suitable communication tools are available so that remote workers can fully participate in workplace activities, as well as making sure they have the necessary support to hand should they run into any issues.
In addition, offices must be designed to encourage regular communication and collaboration with remote team members. Recent research from Futuresource Consulting revealed that in nearly 40% of companies employees regularly hold meetings in ad-hoc spaces like kitchens, foyers and reception, suggesting that teams are not being properly catered for and there is still a clear need for investment in spaces such as huddle rooms.
I’ve experienced first-hand the growth in huddle rooms over the past few years while leading the huddle room division at integrator CDEC, and I’ve seen the value they bring, providing a space for teams to come together when needed to share ideas, collaborate and make decisions. In order for this to happen with the best possible outcomes, all team members need to feel fully involved and so huddle rooms have become invaluable, with their ease of use providing the perfect environment for quick, ad-hoc team catch-ups.
It was against this backdrop that Hudd.io was launched earlier this month to provide a simple way to configure huddle rooms with integrated furniture and technology, while also offering support packages tailored to an individual businesses’ needs. Now, the plan was never to launch this concept during a global pandemic but the situation we find ourselves in has shown just how important it is to maintain connections, keep communication lines open and be flexible and adaptable, both on a personal and professional level, and Hudd.io enables all this and more.
Given the current situation and how this will impact the future of work, I believe a full turnkey solution that offers expert support services for all workers, office based and remote, will be invaluable as businesses adapt to the new working landscape. Consistency of service and technology will also be crucial, with standardised equipment maintained and supported for both the physical office and remote locations, ensuring productivity is always at its peak.
Hudd.io fulfils all of these needs, bringing together key technology and furniture partners that can provide everything you need for your huddle room in a cost-effective way. Our network of installers are then on hand to ensure the project can be completed in a timely manner, while expert support staff are always available should any queries arise.
Huddle rooms are so effective because they are simple and intuitive for users, and we believe their design and implementation should be equally simple and hassle free, and this ethos is at the core of Hudd.io.
It really has never been as easy to create the ultimate huddle space. To find out more about huddle rooms, the benefits they bring and what needs to be considered when designing a collaboration space, download our Complete Huddle Room Guide, or visit hudd.io.