(est. read time: 7 min)
If you pay attention at all to AV industry news, you’d think that “huddle rooms” are a new concept. In fact, huddle rooms have been around in some form or fashion for decades. Organizations of every size have always needed spaces ideal for smaller team collaboration. But what is new is how teams collaborate.
Historically, huddle rooms have been the most underutilized meeting space for most companies. It’s time for that to change. Today, your huddle room is one of the biggest opportunities you have to make it easier for your team to work more effectively and efficiently. And all it takes is a small investment in more advanced AV technology to make it happen.
Some Trends Are More Than Fads
When you invest in technology, you should definitely consider the cost and the benefits. But there’s another factor to consider, whether you’re investing in physical equipment, software, or technology services: the long-term durability of your purchase. In other words, you don’t want to pour resources into a trendy, flash-in-the-pan technology fad.
Consider the trends that are expected to affect businesses for years to come:
- Millennials, and soon post-Millennials, will continue to enter and shape the workforce with their expectations of more freedom and flexibility.
- More businesses are using technology to make open offices and telecommuting more effective to fit those expectations.
- As more companies hire remote workers and collaborate across longer distances, the ability to manage, support, and collaborate with global teams will set successful companies apart from the ones that fail.
When we look at these trends, we don’t see a fad. We see a paradigm shift that has a major impact on how businesses operate. And if you don’t adapt to the new paradigm, it will be harder to keep up with the expectations of your customers and employees. Huddle rooms have long been overlooked. But now is the time to take advantage of those under-used spaces. It’s an easy step to take if you want to keep up with the fast-paced revolution in modern work culture.
“Okay, okay—but what is a huddle room, really?”
This is a difficult question. Not because the answer is complicated (as you’ll see, it’s deceptively simple), but because there are a thousand answers floating around. So let’s start by clarifying what we’re talking about:
A huddle room is… a small room where teams can huddle.
That’s easy enough, right?
The problem is, people talk about huddle rooms like it’s more complicated than that. As if huddle rooms can only be used for certain types of meetings, located only in certain types of facilities, or equipped with certain equipment. The truth is that, while we could argue about what might be “best” for a huddle room, no two huddle rooms will be or need to be alike.
What matters most is that your huddle room should be the perfect place for a small group (roughly no more than five or six people) to “huddle.” And that word is a bit of a chameleon because huddles look different for every team.
But here’s one thing all huddle rooms have in common: they’re mostly under-appreciated.
Why Most Huddle Rooms Need a Makeover
Now that you understand what a huddle room is (and isn’t) you’re probably wondering, “Okay, but I’m still not sure what a good huddle room looks like.”
Research suggests that, right now, most huddle rooms lack any advanced AV technology. The typical huddle room has a few simple ingredients: basic furniture, a standard whiteboard, and maybe a flat panel display for basic presentations.
Most huddle rooms don’t even have a basic conferencing system. Even fewer have technology that would allow employees to share and annotate over data wirelessly or collaborate face-to-face with remote teams via video conference.
There are plenty of features common in larger meeting rooms and executive boardrooms that would be out of place in most huddle rooms. That’s not to say those features are wrong for all huddle rooms. But as it stands, most people compromise for a “good enough” huddle room. The “best of the best” AV technology only makes it into larger meeting rooms, where expectations are higher (and budgets are larger).
Is “Good Enough” Really Good Enough?
Even though huddle rooms have been taken for granted, that doesn’t mean they were ever ignored entirely. It’s just that there’s never been much of a need for better AV systems in smaller meeting rooms.
Businesses have become more global, and employees are more concerned with flexible work environments than ever before. That’s why most huddle rooms aren’t cutting it. What was “good enough” or even more than good enough technology for a huddle room five or ten years ago just isn’t the same today.
If you have a huddle room that’s not being used much, ask yourself why that is. Is there really no more use for it? Unlikely. Just imagine how your team could use that room if they had access to technology specifically designed to make the most out of the space.
We’ve Seen the Proof
The Synergy CT headquarters is a daily reminder to us of AV’s ability to transform a huddle room.
For example, the video conferencing system in our Team Room in Houston gives our sales and technical teams the ability to attend weekly meetings without fighting traffic. It also allows us to collaborate with our New Orleans office face-to-face at a moment’s notice. We’ve even started using the conferencing software in that room to record meetings when people can’t make it. They can catch up later, at a time that works best for them.
When our huddle room gets full use, it’s easier for our sales team, technicians, and project managers to do their job. They have more flexibility and freedom, and they like that. It lets them prioritize their time and focus on other important meetings with clients and manufacturers.
We use a cloud-based solution from Starleaf for our video conferences, and we love it! It couldn’t be easier to connect from any device—PC, tablet, smartphone, or laptop. No additional hardware needed, and all the work gets done in the cloud. That’s why we recommend Starleaf Breeze to everyone we meet—it’s fast, secure, and reliable video conferencing without the bloat. And it just works. (PS: We can get you a free trial if you want to see it in action.)
Another tool that we use in our huddle room is the ClickShare from Barco. It’s called the “one-click wonder” for a reason: you plug in the emitter to your device’s USB port, click the button, and you’re instantly sharing your own screen to the main display. Want to share from mobile? There’s an app for that! Need to share audio or video? It does that too—all over a dedicated WIFI network that’s fast and secure.
The Power of Simple Solutions
I’ve given only two examples of the ways we personally use advanced AV technology in our huddle room. Your ideal huddle room may look completely different—and that’s okay! Your huddle room should be customized to help your team meet their unique goals.
It’s up to you to decide what works best for your team. But if your huddle room isn’t taking advantage of modern AV technology, you may be overlooking an opportunity to transform a forgotten room into a powerful collaboration environment.
I hope you’ve been inspired to take another look at your huddle rooms. And I hope you’ve grasped just how powerful a simple upgrade can be. You can transform your unused meeting spaces into something your team will love using each day. We can help you out.
Sometimes, the most effective solutions are the simplest.