Huddle Room 101: Making the Most of Small Conference Spaces


Offices typically need a variety of spaces that range from huddle rooms to large conference rooms to allow flexibility in meeting situations. However, huddle rooms are more prevalent than ever, with as many as 50 million cited in a Wainhouse Research study last year. These small, impromptu meeting spaces are more conducive to the digital world that we live in now, allowing us to easily connect with colleagues around the world.

In recent years, companies inspired by Silicon Valley startup culture have adopted the open floor plan, where employees can freely mingle and collaborate. There are clear benefits to an open office, but it also leads to more noise and distraction, which can decreases productivity and overall well-being. The huddle room design offers some much-needed privacy during a hectic workday, so teams can focus on the task at hand.

However, we haven't equipped these rooms with adequate technology that allows us to host cutting-edge conferences and presentations. Many huddle rooms simply have a desk, a phone, and a flat-screen TV. That's fine for in-person meetings with a few team members, but if you plan on running a conference call, it's far from ideal.

In this guide, we've shared how to set up a huddle room for maximum effectiveness, so that you take advantage of the small space. By creating a room where employees can freely collaborate, you'll allow them to open up and brainstorm some truly groundbreaking ideas.

What is a Huddle Room?

First, let's break down what makes a huddle room different from your standard conference room or multi-purpose space. Think of "huddling" like teams do in a basketball or football game, where the coach runs through the strategy for upcoming plays. A huddle room operates the same way. It's a space where 2-6 employees can gather for an impromptu meeting, without booking the room days or weeks in advance. Since the rooms are so compact, a company can design their office layout to include several huddle rooms, so that employees can use them freely.

In short, the huddle room design is more versatile than a conference room, and it's perfect for small groups to quickly share ideas. The average huddle room should have a small table, chairs, a whiteboard, and a monitor connected to a video conferencing system, like the Yamaha Huddly Audio Video Conferencing system. All-in-one conferencing systems that hang on a wall are better for huddle rooms, since space is at a premium.

Benefits of Huddle Rooms

Huddle room technology is transforming the modern workplace. Here are just a few reasons why these versatile rooms are worth incorporating in your office:
  • They bring people together: Large conference rooms can create an unintentional distance between employees if the space is too big for the group size. Huddle rooms avoid this problem because they're designed to foster intimate conversations. Huddle room video conferencing also evokes the same response from virtual attendees, who feel more connected to everyone in the room.
  • They save money and space: By installing huddle rooms near the busiest office areas, you'll ensure that employees use them throughout the day. Huddle rooms are less expensive to furnish than a typical conference room, from the desk to the conferencing system. Meanwhile, any unused spaces can be partitioned into multiple huddle rooms, so you get the most bang for your buck.
  • They're flexible, while still encouraging efficiency: Besides offering a space for employees to meet, huddle rooms can also be used to host remote workers and small teams from other companies. Instead of hosting multiple groups in the same giant space, you can offer privacy to each group, so that everyone stays engaged. Meanwhile, working in a small space also encourages employees to only attend if absolutely necessary.

Huddle Rooms vs Conference Rooms

Unlike the formal atmosphere of a conference room, huddle rooms allow teams to let their guard down and get work done in a less “official” setting. Millennials love huddle rooms because they offer a casual and minimalist solution, unlike traditional meeting rooms of the past. They can be used for presentations, small conference calls, job interviews, and much more.

With multiple huddle rooms in an office, employees can use them freely and spontaneously without making a reservation. Instead of booking a conference room for a specific time slot and feeling obligated to use it, teams can reach goals at their own pace, and end the meeting when they're ready. If a new piece of information requires a change of plan, the team can rush to a huddle room and address the situation.

Huddle Room Technology

To make the most of your huddle rooms, your company will need to invest in portable and convenient video conferencing systems that allow for easy collaboration. All-in-one units like the Yamaha Huddly Collaboration Kit equip your huddle room with high-quality video and ultra-wideband audio, so that you can host detailed virtual meetings with parties in multiple time zones. Easily mounted on a wall, the ESB-1090 takes up minimal space in a small room. With a beamforming microphone and a wide-angle camera lens, everyone in the huddle can be seen and heard.

Finally, the ESB-1090 has an integrated USB port, so you can connect it to a computer running Skype for Business, BlueJeans, Zoom, or your preferred communications platform. Just plug in your laptop and get the meeting started. The best huddle room technology is all about simplicity, so that employees feel empowered to get work done without thinking about the tools.

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