The dynamics of the U.S. workforce are rapidly shifting. By 2021, half of all office workers nationwide will be Millennials, while a mere 25 percent will be Baby Boomers. Although Millennial workers are transforming many aspects of modern workplaces, they share many high-level values—such ranking high-quality colleagues and flexible work arrangements as more important than monetary rewards—with their older coworkers. Even so, one key difference is that Millennials prefer impromptu huddles over large, preplanned meetings, primarily because more concrete work gets done in small groups.
The growing number of Millennials in your workforce provides an ideal opportunity to streamline your office’s workflows by refocusing your meetings and meeting spaces on what’s really important. Here are three significant reasons why huddle rooms are transforming the entire concept of meeting spaces in offices across the country.
1. Mobility Correlates With Productivity
In every industry, employees often complain that “big meetings are a waste of time.” A recent study by MeetingSquared reports that the average office worker attends 3.7 meetings per week, spending more than an hour preparing for each of them. But 45.7 percent of employees say the find their minds wandering during meetings, and a full 40 percent say at least half the meetings they attend are completely unnecessary.
This is particularly true of office-wide meetings, where clear agreement is rarely achieved and concrete tasks are rarely assigned. In spontaneous, casual, head-to-head sessions, by contrast, it’s much easier for teams to arrive at a consensus and agree on action items. In small huddle rooms equipped with the latest display and collaboration tools, employees have everything they need to share documents, brainstorm, and reach actionable decisions.
2. Mobile Employees Require Less Space
A growing number of U.S. companies are relying increasingly on remote workers. According to research firm Global Workplace Analytics, the number of employees who work from home has grown by a striking 103 percent since 2005. More than 3.7 million employees now work from home at least half the time.
Another benefit of a remote workforce is that they don’t require onsite cubicles, desks, computer supplies, and other costly equipment. Thus, a small huddle room equipped with interactive and conferencing technologies can easily serve as an effective meeting space for as many remote employees as necessary.
3. Less Space Costs Less Money
A recent survey by Cushman and Wakefield reported that in 2016, the average annual rent for office space was $29.45 per square foot—a 5.5 percent increase over 2015. At those costs, a 20-by-40 conference room costs a business more than $55,000 every year, and if that room isn’t being used several times every day, most of that money is going down the drain.
A 12-by-12 huddle room, on the other hand, costs an average of only $10,000 per year. Aside from the $45,000 annual savings, a huddle room is much more likely to be used on a daily basis for scheduled meetings as well as impromptu planning sessions. That means the ROI for a huddle room is at least 5.5 times that of a large conference space—if not even more. This is an immediate, concrete benefit, before employees even start putting the room to use.
- Projectors: Flexible and space-efficient, projectors enable meeting participants to share images and even collaborate with remote colleagues.
- Interactive whiteboards: These solutions are perfect for brainstorming sessions, enabling meeting participants to present, share, and annotate content.
- Large-screen displays: Crisp displays provide high resolution for detail- and color-critical tasks. Touch-integrated screens allow easy sharing and collaboration.
- Interactive technologies: Get the most out of individual devices—including personal smartphones and tablets—by connecting them via hardware/software integration programs. These technologies allow sharing from multiple computers and devices. They take brainstorming, video conferencing and collaboration to a new level.
If you’re seeking to make meetings more efficient and effective, consider the many ways in which huddle rooms equipped with display and collaboration technologies can streamline your workflows, boost your ROI, and empower your teams to achieve more.
Ben Hardy is the product manager for large format displays at NEC Display Solutions. Hardy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.