For months, we’ve been talking about the impact that COVID-19 will have on the workplace when it comes time to go back to work. From introducing touchless technology to prevent the spread of germs to installing temperature scanners and occupancy sensors throughout the office to keep workers as safe as possible, it’s safe to say that the traditional office space that we’ve always known will be forever impacted by the events of this past year.
But perhaps the biggest long-term change that we will see in the post-pandemic modern workplace is the number of employees that will continue to work virtually in either a full-time or hybrid capacity.
The Future of the Modern Workplace
According to a survey by Harvard Business School, 81% of people who have been working from home during the pandemic either don’t want to go back to work or prefer a hybrid schedule. “Of the 1,500 remote workers surveyed for the study, 27% hope to continue working remotely full time indefinitely, while 61% would prefer to mix working from home with going into the office two or three days a week,” the study reported.
For businesses that allow employees the flexibility of a hybrid work model, this could mean that at any given time you may have a mix of employees in the office or working from home, all depending on the day of week, time of day, number of meetings, or type of work an employee has on their plate for that particular day.
This also means that there will need to be an influx of technology to ensure strong productivity and collaboration between remote and in-person employees and clients, as large group meetings may now require conferencing in remote participants and quick phone calls with clients may now be video-based Zoom calls.
So how do you ensure that all employees have access to the rooms, screen sharing capabilities, and presentation tools they need to fuel this hybrid model? All at the same time? Enter the huddle space.
The Importance of Huddle Spaces
A huddle space is a one-size-fits-all room that functions as both a typical office space and a useable, wired meeting space. The theory behind these convertible rooms is that, instead of having a specific area in the workplace that can only be used for one or two things (such as a lunchroom, a lobby, a break room, or an atrium), you convert all these spaces to huddle rooms that can be used for virtual meetings with external remote support and capabilities that can be used at a moment’s notice.
There are a number of other benefits to huddle spaces, which is why they have become so popular in modern workplaces. Some benefits include…
- They make use of dormant space: Huddle rooms make the most out of otherwise wasted space. They offer your employees more meeting areas, create a flexible working environment, and free up dormant rooms (like that huge conference room you have but never use).
- They are multi-purpose: Huddle rooms typically have a wide variety of uses. Traditional huddle spaces are used by different teams and team members throughout the week and aren’t conformed to one layout or design.
- They have high foot traffic: Your employees won’t have to wander around your building looking for a free conference room. Instead, with a huddle space, they can simply go anywhere in your building – even the most unused areas (hello, lobby!) – and easily get connected. This gets employees online faster and allows them to work seamlessly across your workspace.
And the great news for businesses is that potential huddle rooms are already everywhere within your office. Wainhouse Research estimated that there are already approximately 50 million huddle rooms globally, but that well over 50% of them have little to no technology in place – and certainly not the type of technology one would need to connect to a largely remote workforce.
Bluewater’s Huddle Space Offerings:
The days of large in-person, in-office gatherings may be limited, but employees will be taking advantage of team huddle spaces for years to come. Here at Bluewater, we want to make sure you are prepared to do that. We offer several top-of-the-line, no-risk plans that will get your office “people-ready” again.
For example, we partner with Crestron to offer their Voice-Activated Huddle Rooms that have all the advantages of a convertible huddle space, plus the benefits of voice-activated access, including remotely reserving rooms in advance, outside-the-room availability indicators, and the ability to monitor / manage room equipment remotely.
We also offer top visual collaboration technology like T1V’s ThinkHub collaboration solution which unites in-room and remote workers while supporting spontaneous collaboration. ThinkHub helps teams work better together, whether your teams are in the same room, spread across different global sites, or are connecting from home.
To learn more about our return-to-work offerings and best practices, be sure to reach out to our team at Bluewater today. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have.