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Millennials, changing meeting priorities drive huddle room trends

The culture around meetings is changing as employees favor huddle rooms over formal boardrooms for ad hoc meetings. The shift is a result of workplace demographic and cultural changes.

If the next clickbait headline claims millennials are killing boardroom meetings, you're only getting a small piece of the puzzle surrounding changes in meeting culture. While millennials are partly responsible for moving meetings out of the boardroom and into smaller huddle rooms, changing priorities around collaboration and remote work are driving the growth of huddle room trends.

More than 32 million huddle rooms exist across organizations around the world, according to market research firm Frost & Sullivan. One contributing factor to this growth is the influx of millennials in the workforce. By 2030, millennials will account for over 75% of workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the demographics of the workforce evolve, so do collaboration needs and huddle room trends.

Remote workforces drive video accessibility

The number of remote and dispersed workers has increased as more millennials enter the workforce, and meeting culture is changing to accommodate them. Rather than face-to-face meetings, video conferencing is connecting teams that are not all on-site. But booking a large boardroom for a meeting with three people in the office and one person dialing in remotely can be a waste of company resources.

Huddle rooms equipped with conferencing technology enable small meetings to happen without taking up an entire boardroom. Nearly 65% of people believe that at least half of huddle rooms within an organization need video conferencing tools, according to a Cisco-sponsored report from market research firm Dimensional Research.

"We've been talking about getting video conferencing out of boardrooms and out to the masses for a while now," said David Maldow, founder of market research firm Let's Do Video. "Huddle rooms make video technology accessible to everyone."

Meeting culture has become far less formal and scheduled. Teams now are focusing on increased productivity, requiring spaces that they can access quickly for impromptu meetings or last-minute brainstorming sessions. Unlike boardrooms, which are typically designed for larger-scale planned meetings, the trend for huddle rooms and ad hoc spaces is to design them to fit into smaller team workflows. According to the Dimensional Research study, 55% of respondents said that meetings held in huddle rooms helped increase productivity.

"The entire work culture has changed from individual work to team work. It's not just an easy way to share files or contextualize conversations and emails. We're becoming a team culture," Maldow said. Millennial emphasis on building teamwork and collaboration into meeting culture has made huddle rooms and ad hoc spaces invaluable tools for organizations looking to maximize on productivity.

Open floor plans create need for collaboration spaces

Changes in company floor plans are also influencing the popularity of huddle spaces, as businesses move toward open floor plans that encourage a more collaborative atmosphere. In this kind of open environment, teams need a designated space to collaborate on projects and get work done. Huddle rooms provide much needed work space for small groups by offering dedicated space with the technology and tools needed to facilitate collaborative workflows.

Huddle room trends are bolstered by open floor plans since they present a challenge for the privacy of information-sensitive conversations or finding quiet spaces away from the noise of the main office. Huddle rooms provide the privacy required to have productive conversations without distraction.

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