When out and about on client visits I am struck by the ever-increasing number of huddle spaces occupying all manner of nooks & crannies throughout offices & businesses. Huddle spaces provide quiet, relaxed spaces for catch ups, one to ones or small group meetings. These huddles spaces are designed to be flexible, and ease of use is key. The walk up and sit-down approach removes the need to pre-book spaces as you would with the more traditional meeting rooms.
I’ve seen some great ideas to really make the most of available space and of course there is an array of different furniture patterns and colours ranging from the plain greys to outlandish greens & blues, right to the garish pinks. All good talking points and installed in the right way to engage people and encourage them to enter.
In all my visits to date though, I can’t recall ever being invited to perch in a booth, chill out pod or huddle space to conduct a meeting. I feel disappointed! Businesses should be utilising the space they have, especially in London where space is at a premium, to create tech-enabled meeting spaces in the small spaces they have free in their offices. The company culture then needs to shift, to discourage 2-3 people holding informal meetings in the plush boardroom that seats 12, rather than the huddle space which would be much better suited. This leaves the boardroom free for colleagues to use for larger meetings.
The tech required can be quite minimal but effective without costing a fortune. A small display screen with webcam and audio will ensure that contact with the outside world can happen and guests can check out those funky coloured cushions in full HD! Remote workers can feel more included in the meeting by feeling like they’re in the booth or pod with you through video, plus you can content share to show off your ideas and presentations, and an interactive screen can allow you to make annotations on shared content there and then.
More and more of my clients are investing in huddle spaces and this certainly points to adoption of new thinking. It also demonstrates that businesses are embracing the importance of flexible working – effective collaboration is key.