Over the past decade, open office layouts have been regarded by owners as excellent collaborative environments that foster transparency, creativity and innovation.
They are considered a less stuffy alternative to the almighty cubicle — with fewer walls and doors separating employees, information flows more freely and cooperation abounds.
At the same time, companies have also embraced the open office concept for a less utopian reason: affordability.
Open layouts maximize existing space and minimize costs, both essential when you have dozens or even hundreds of employees to manage.
The International Facility Management Association reports that over 70 percent of offices in the US use some sort of open office plan.
Unfortunately, employees working in open offices aren’t embracing the trend. According to an article published in Fortune magazine, open office plans are, in fact, detrimental to productivity and employee well-being; furthermore, they increase the number of sick days employees take.
In another study, nearly half of open-office workers surveyed were dissatisfied with sound privacy, and 40 percent disliked the lack of visual privacy.
So, how can you maximize productivity in an open office — or “agile” office — while reducing distractions and protecting your employees’ privacy?
Huddle rooms may be the solution you’re looking for.
What Are Huddle Rooms?
Huddle rooms are small, private meeting spaces designed to accommodate teams of two to six employees and strategically equipped with all the bells and whistles of a standard conference room:
- Video conferencing technology
- A TV, LCD or LED monitor
- A small central table
- A regular or interactive whiteboard
- Comfortable seating
The purpose of huddle rooms is to facilitate more effective collaboration between employees by providing a space for spontaneous meetings and brainstorming, without the distractions typically associated with open office layouts, and all without the need for a large conference room.
Want to find out more about huddle rooms? Head to our in-depth guide to huddle rooms*. Alternatively, you can check out the huddle rooms available at Zenbooth.
Huddle Room Furniture Benefits and Uses for Modern Offices
The use of huddle room furniture in modern offices, and especially in open or “agile” offices, offers an option for privacy when necessary. But there are many more benefits and uses for huddle rooms, and we’ve outlined six of them below.
More Privacy for Employees
We’ve already discussed some of the disadvantages of open office spaces. Perhaps the most important factor that makes them detrimental to productivity and collaboration is their lack of privacy.
Open offices are filled with noise and distractions, which means employees will struggle to engage with their work or stay concentrated enough to be productive.
Compact huddle rooms offer a private, distraction-free environment where small working groups can have a quiet conversation without bothering their nearby peers.
The benefits of private huddle rooms apply to teams as well as individual employees. Groups of employees can use the quiet environment offered by these areas to brainstorm, have confidential discussions with upper management, or arrange briefings with remote colleagues.
Similarly, individual employees can use huddle rooms to work quietly and without distractions, to arrange video conferences with clients, or to take private telephone calls away without the fear of being overheard by their peers.
Huddle rooms aren’t just a nice addition to your open office plan; they're a critical component of increased productivity at your company.
Enhanced Connections with Remote Colleagues
Employees both in and out of the office will find huddle rooms an excellent choice when it comes to connecting face-to-face with other members of their team for a quick team sync throughout the day.
By installing these areas in your open office layouts, smaller teams can be together in one place.
For remote workers, it means the ability to address a "room" full of people and feel more included in the team; for the employees, it means the possibility to connect with their remote colleagues at any time to facilitate workflow and increase productivity.
With huddle rooms, remote teams can feel less remote and have a life-sized presence in any meeting or conference.
Zenbooth huddle rooms are outfitted with fast-charging USB outlets, 110v electrical outlets and grommets for data and telephone cables, which you can use to easily integrate video conferencing equipment in order to support communication between employees both in and out of the office.
No Prior Reservation Needed
Spontaneous collaboration and impromptu meetings are all part of office life, and standard conference rooms are often chosen to hold them. But what if booking a conference room needs to be done in advance?
Implementing huddle rooms in your workspace offers a convenient alternative to standard conference rooms.
The fact that 75 percent of all meetings in large conference rooms are among three to four people means that huddle rooms are perfectly sized to accommodate on-the-fly meetings, impromptu brainstorming, problem-solving discussions, briefings, catch-ups and more.
An additional benefit of huddle rooms is that they can be installed throughout your open office so that multiple meetings can take place at one time, streamlining the efficiency of your existing space.
Easy to Install and Implement
Depending on the size of your office, finding the space necessary for installing several conference rooms can prove difficult.
Huddle rooms are a proactive and cost-saving step towards promoting more authentic communication in your company environment — all while maximizing existing space.
They’re also easy to install and don’t require a great deal of technical work. The Zenbooth line of office booths can be positioned anywhere in your office, without any construction needed.
What’s more, implementing huddle rooms adds flexibility to agile offices. For example, you can add a few one-person huddle rooms that address the needs of individual employees and a few larger, ones that accommodate two to six people where smaller teams can meet to brainstorm and discuss.
The office booths from Zenbooth come in three sizes, from individual booths to meeting rooms that fit up to six people.
Enhanced Customer Experiences
Imagine your key account management team conversing with your top clients from their cubicle in the middle of an open office environment.
The background noise and chatter will give the impression that your company doesn’t care enough to arrange more private spaces for such meetings.
Similarly, having a small team stationed in a large conference room for a video call can look a little awkward.
Huddle rooms can right-size these meetings and enhance customer experiences by allowing for private, distraction-free conversations between employees and clients.
Their compact size will help you earn your clients’ trust, allowing you to offer personalized, on-demand interaction and responsiveness.
Whether it’s about a previously arranged conference call or an impromptu one, huddle rooms promote transparency and bolster customer confidence in your company.
Zenbooth huddle room furniture is equipped with 3.5-inch thick walls containing recycled cotton and denim sound insulation, ensuring confidential conversations with your clients remain private at all times.
The echo-absorbing perforated aluminum panels reduce the echo inside the booth so that the quality of spoken communication with clients is always exceptional.
An Inexpensive Solution to the Hurdles of Open Offices
Redesigning open office layouts costs a lot of money and takes time. If both resources are limited, then you may want to consider outfitting existing space with huddle rooms.
Because they’re smaller than standard conference rooms, you can have more huddle areas installed in your open office space, and you can place them pretty much anywhere you want or only where they’re needed.
For example, adding them at the intersection of work areas will allow employees to collaborate more easily, while installing them in quieter areas will offer added privacy to those workers seeking a distraction-free environment.
You may want to encourage input about where best to locate these rooms from your employees, as they can offer first-hand advice based on their own experience working in an open office.
Depending on the size of your office, you may be able to add one or two rooms or several, which is why you should consider the daily needs of your employees first.
If meetings between 3 or more people aren’t that common, then you’ll be better off installing several smaller office booths throughout the office.
Most of the time, outfitting your open space with multiple huddle rooms will be more cost-effective than equipping a single standard conference room, so they make more financial sense for companies with a limited budget.
Effective Huddle Room Solutions from Zenbooth
If you’ve decided to invest in huddle rooms for your open office, Zenbooth offers an array of furniture that will maximize existing space and appeal to your employees as well.
Our office booths can accommodate individual employees and smaller teams of up to six people depending on the needs of your company.
Furthermore, all our office booths are equipped with:
- 3.5-inch thick acoustic wall construction containing recycled cotton and denim sound insulation to ensure meetings remain private;
- Twin high-powered ventilation fans powered by occupancy sensors to maintain air quality and prevent stuffiness;
- Self-closing aluminum door with accessible handle, tempered glass and magnetic latching system for added security;
- Low 1/2-inch door threshold for improved accessibility;
- Fast-charging USB outlets, 110v electrical outlets and grommets for data and telephone cables to accommodate multiple devices such as video conferencing equipment, laptops and AV/TV equipment;
- 1/2-inch thick shatterproof plexiglass ceiling to allow natural light to flood the booth;
- Echo-absorbing perforated aluminum panels for high sound quality during phone and video calls.
The Zenbooth team is here to assist you every step of the way. Shop our range of huddle room furniture or get in touch with our customer happiness team to discuss about our office booths and how they can benefit your open office space.