When we think of the term “collaboration”, we think of ways people can communicate and work together to achieve a goal. Collaboration is an essential part of success in any aspect of life, and the business world is no different. Individuals from the same department must share knowledge and resources to achieve desired results for their projects. Departments must effectively communicate and share resources to achieve their own goals and the goals of the organization. It is no longer a “you stay on your side of the fence and we’ll stay on ours” kind of mentality in the corporate world. Departments must work together more than ever to help the organization gain competitive advantage and continue to grow in market share.
Until recently, the method of collaboration was to reserve and stage- large elaborate conference rooms. These rooms seated 50 or more people and took up a lot of real estate. They were equipped with a large table, a large display screen and an elaborate video conferencing system. These areas still serve a purpose in large company meetings with staff and/or clientele. What about the day-to-day impromptu meetings that take place? These meetings usually just include 2-5 individuals who are looking to meet for
15-30 minutes. The large conference room is not an effective area to host these meetings due to the size and the lack of availability.
To improve productivity and innovation while cutting costs, organizations are moving- away from large conference rooms and creating what we term “huddle spaces”. Huddle spaces are small, enclosed rooms that sit up to 5 people. They include less furniture, whiteboards (or SMART boards), smaller display screens and “all in one” video conferencing technology, allowing everyone in the room to feel like they are a part of the conversation. Here are some of the benefits of building huddle spaces:
More video conferencing: The video conferencing technology in large conference rooms were cost prohibitive with elaborate hardware and software licensing. Video conferencing in huddle spaces require web conferencing apps like Cisco Spark, Microsoft Skype, and Ring Central that integrate with a mobile device allowing for more intimate collaboration at a significantly lower cost.
More flexibility: Huddle spaces can be built quickly and inexpensively, allowing organizations to utilize their real estate to optimize internal and external collaboration. Huddle spaces can be used for impromptu meetings with no scheduling or they can be a part of a weekly meeting schedule utilizing technologies like Crestron Mercury with Fusion. This means less bottlenecks within the organization and increased productivity across all departments.
More innovation: Being able to meet with internal and external colleagues and/or clientele anytime during the work day provides a catalyst to get more done in a shorter amount of time. Huddle spaces create more efficient collaboration through more efficient sharing of ideas. With more huddle spaces, the barriers to communication are significantly lowered, allowing more innovative brainstorming and idea generation to take place.
Centralized support: One of the most important, if often overlooked factors affective overall ROI for a technology investment is ease of support and management. There is a significant, measurable cost of going room to room supporting PC’s and other equipment. By employing powerful, yet easy-to-use resource management software, all components in a huddle space AV system can be remotely monitored and maintained. And because these rooms are designed to be simple systems with only the equipment users need to have fast impromptu meetings—meaning they rarely even have a room PC—they can significantly reduce support costs over systems in larger spaces. Larger spaces and more complex equipment is still required in some spaces, but adding huddle spaces can provide a better balance of technology and increase the return on the technological investment.
Huddle spaces have redefined the way organizations collaborate both internally and externally. I would encourage companies who have a large staff to consider the utilization of huddle spaces. It will significantly simplify the collaboration process. Your organization will get more out of brainstorming sessions promoting new ideas, and create an environment of innovation, engagement and productivity.
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