Unlike the large, expensive and often austere video conferencing rooms favored by big businesses for big calls, a huddle room is designed for only a few people to use at a time and can be much easier on the budget. While they may not pack the technological horsepower of a fully equipped conferencing room, huddle rooms can be perfect for an off the cuff, short problem solving or brainstorming call with an intimate group of people. However, don’t let the smaller size stop you from achieving perfection with this pocket-sized substitute. With the proper planning, a huddle room can feel more like a friendly lunch date than an often-impersonal company-wide call, and can still be easy for a small business budget to digest.
Get Creative with your Interior Design
If you really want to set your huddle room apart as a distinctive and enjoyable place to have an impulsive or firefighting meeting, consider adding a bit of color. As this article in the Huffington Post explains, too much white can make a room feel sterile. But in a video conferencing room, you want to avoid using too much or too drastic of colors and decor that might otherwise be distracting. It’s a good idea to stick to white walls and a moderately plain table, but don’t be afraid to get creative with the colors or patterns of the chairs. Bright, warm colors like lime greens, oranges or yellows can infuse a room with creativity and energy, while cooler colors can evoke a feeling of serenity or focus. Experiment and look up other interior designs to find what works for you, like from Pinterest or this gallery of conference rooms from Houzz, but avoid making a room too dark. Remember that you’ll need the room to be moderately bright and well-lit so that the people can be clearly seen by the web camera. If you do want to use dramatic colors, consider having one wall with a lighter shade than the rest as an accent, and to position your camera so that this accent wall is the backdrop.
Outfit your Room with the Right Equipment
A good goal to have when designing a huddle room is to aim for flexibility and accessibility. Leave the big, complicated and high-end tech and tools for the main video conferencing rooms. A good huddle room should be one that people who aren’t necessarily IT specialists should be able to use, and one that can be turned on and off on short notice. Employing a simple USB microphone or webcam that can be plugged in and turned on without too much hassle is a good idea, as well as using a cross-platform software program like BlueJeans. Your huddle room should feel like anyone can use it without fear, but without feeling constrained either. Another to consider is to make some of your equipment dual purpose. For example, consider opting out of a permanently mounted web camera and instead choose one than can be moved to showcase a product or model from multiple angles without having to awkwardly hold it up in front of a camera attached to a screen or the wall. Having non-mounted microphones as well, or discreet headsets, could be a good solution as well to allow for extra mobility. Lastly, you might consider having one or two portable computer tablets on hand, especially for a business that has lots of physical products in stock, to allow for building tours or other types of conferencing on the go.
Go the Extra Mile with Traditional Creative Tools
Sometimes, one of the best things you can do to get ahead of the competition is to go a little old school. Keeping a few low-cost staples to good meetings can do wonders to take your huddle meeting from good to great, such as a water cooler, coffee maker or a small refrigerator stocked with basic refreshments to keep team members fueled and alert during longer or more energetic meetings. Another good idea is having a surface that allows for impulsive, free-hand writing and drawing. A wheeled dry erase board or a large paper pad on an easel is a solid and practical tool, but if you’re looking to have a strong visual design, a chalkboard or whiteboard fixed to the wall can contribute to a specific aesthetic and count as a decoration. Having multi-purpose equipment like what was mentioned above can play into this idea of flexibility, as well.
Huddle rooms are, by definition, a push back against stiff and expensive fully fleshed video conferencing rooms. Therefore, when creating your own, don’t be afraid to put your own specific spin on it and tailor it to fit your business’s needs.