Top 5 Companies Setting Up Hybrid Meeting Rooms Right

Published
January 9, 2024
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Hybrid Work
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Top 5 Companies Setting Up Hybrid Meeting Rooms Right

TL;DR Article Summary

Hybrid work is changing the way employees use the office. In-office days are becoming increasingly collaborative and social, as teams are using that time to do work that’s more effective in-person. As such, spaces for collaboration and team discussion are rising in popularity over individual desks.

“We still seem to not have enough meeting rooms. Almost every desk is empty and almost every meeting room is full.” - Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder and CEO

The shift toward more collaborative spaces is creating demand for conference rooms and hybrid meeting rooms where both in-office and remote team members can work on projects together. With the change in office use and increasing demand for hybrid meeting spaces, organizations should rethink their hybrid meeting room setup to meet their employees’ needs. 

Here are the top five companies using innovative office space designs to help hybrid employees do their best work:

1. Spotify

The setup: Known for their vibrant company culture, stepping into any of Spotify’s offices feels a bit like walking into an art gallery. The designs really bring Spotify’s podcasts, playlists, and artists to life throughout its offices. They even name their conference rooms after popular Spotify playlists like Rap Caviar, Deep Focus, and Guilty Pleasures.

Spotify’s offices hold a variety of hybrid meeting spaces that are ideal for different types of work. One strategy they utilize is the Pod Approach, with enclosed "studios" for focused work and smaller group meetings. Each pod is equipped with individual screens and audio setups, ensuring a seamless hybrid experience. Spotify also has secluded soft meeting spaces for more casual interactions as well as workshop areas for generating creative ideas. 

Why it’s cool: This Pod design encourages equal participation and spontaneous interaction, perfect for Spotify's dynamic brainstorming sessions. The smaller layout is also ideal for smaller, casual meetings where all team members have more opportunity to participate. In these hybrid meeting rooms, the defining feature is the abundance of artwork that visualizes the music and podcasts that make Spotify unique.

“We really started talking about what the office needs to be through the Hyper Evolved Workplace strategy. It lets us look at our ways of working: our culture, our beliefs, and what Spotifiers want and need. I think we have to look at creating spaces that mirror the kind of feeling that we’ve got from home so we can choose where we work.” - Sonya Simmonds, head of workplace design and build at Spotify

2. Cisco

The setup: Cisco's "Immersive Collaboration Room" boasts a massive wall display creating a life-size virtual space for immersive hybrid collaboration and presentations. The massive screen displays remote attendees in life-size, perfect for presentations or interactive workshops. The “half-cut” conference room table can be extended digitally, allowing for remote employees to look like they have a seat at the table. 

The Room Panorama is built on Cisco’s Room Kit Pro platform, meaning there are more ways to cover different meeting scenarios and larger rooms. The advanced technology gives teams the flexibility to build custom, specialized video conference rooms that turn the physical executive meeting room into a virtual space for smooth collaboration, ideation, and decision-making.

Why it’s cool: The panoramic view creates an immersive experience for both in-person and remote attendees, creating a feeling of shared space. Teams can conduct hybrid meetings across the globe as if everyone were in the same location. The high quality video and audio experience connect dispersed teams and make sure everyone has an equal seat at the table. The large screen is also great for presentations or interactive workshops.

“The future of work is now and it’s hybrid, which requires a truly exceptional and inclusive experience that’s not confined by location, device, or meeting platform.” - Jeetu Patel, EVP and GM of Security & Collaboration at Cisco

Read More: 7 Must-Have Conference Room Tech Tools for Hybrid Meetings

3. Airbnb

The setup: With offices once “the envy of Silicon Valley,” Airbnb has created a variety of workspace options that represent all the travel locations people go to. When designing its spaces, the company wanted its employees to experience travel without leaving the building. The company also prioritizes natural light and comfortable furniture to create a welcoming environment. 

Airbnb's San Francisco office utilizes a variety of hybrid meeting room setups. In the Inclusive Circles layout, swivel chairs are arranged in a large circle with a central screen displaying remote participants. In the Flexible U layout, in-person participants are seated along a U-shaped table with large screens at either end. Movable furniture is included so that employees can adapt their seating to best fit the needs of the hybrid meetings.

Why it’s cool: Airbnb prioritizes inclusivity and accessibility in their hybrid meeting rooms. The diverse setups cater to different meeting needs, while the focus on comfort ensures a positive experience for everyone. The various conference room layouts they utilize focus on the visibility of both in-person and remote participants, ensuring that the two parties can communicate even across the physical barriers. 

“We still seem to not have enough meeting rooms. Almost every desk is empty and almost every meeting room is full. In the next year or two, we are going to design what we think the office of the 21st century, or at least this decade, might look like.” - Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb

4. Microsoft

The setup: As the pioneers of Microsoft Teams, it's no surprise Microsoft champions cutting-edge hybrid meeting spaces. All of its hybrid meeting rooms face a large screen where remote attendees are displayed. Larger conference rooms were refitted with a guitar pick-shaped table that focuses attention on the screen. Cameras at the front of the room easily capture all the seating, so remote attendees can clearly see everyone in the room. 

Microsoft’s Redmond campus also boasts "Teams Rooms," which are designed for hybrid collaboration. These rooms use a Pod Approach with enclosed spaces for in-person participants and central screens for remote connections. The seating is designed around a Flexible U layout that helps employees see better, and each employee is provided individual screens and whiteboards.

Why it’s cool: The pods offer privacy and focused work for smaller groups, while the central space facilitates larger discussions. The Flexible U layout in the "Team Rooms" helps both in-person and remote employees see each other better. The provided movable furniture and central screens allow for both focused collaboration and group discussions, catering to various meeting types. 

“What creates a great hybrid experience is not necessarily the technology as much as just the way everyone is facing. If people are facing each other in the room, they’re not focused on the people that are there remotely.” - Matt Hempey, principal program manager, Microsoft Digital Employee Experience

Read More: 5 Hybrid Meeting Best Practices To Improve Engagement

5. Zoom

The setup: Zoom wanted to ensure that their redesigned offices would support the new ways of working of their workforce. Their guiding principles for their office redesign was to provide offices that were focused on collaboration, socializing, and customer interactions while leveraging technology that created the best employee experience for all.

Many of Zoom's office spaces utilize Hybrid Huddle rooms with large, interactive displays surrounded by movable stools or benches. The standing-height tables encourage active participation and a casual vibe, perfect for quick brainstorming sessions or informal catch-ups. Additionally, the floor-to-ceiling interactive displays make it easier for both remote and in-person participants to see one another and communicate. 

Why it’s cool: The flexible furniture and large displays encourage active participation and collaboration, particularly for brainstorming sessions. The huddle rooms are designed in a way that puts attendees physically closer with one another, making them ideal for smaller, casual meetings. Large, interactive displays help in-office employees better pick up on the physical cues of remote employees for smoother interactions similar to that of in-person communication. 

“Every business needs a solution to deliver the best hybrid meeting experience. Even with some employees in the office, oftentimes other team members are dispersed, so meeting equity and inclusion become more important than ever.” - Smita Hashim, chief product officer at Zoom

There are numerous choices for innovative hybrid meeting spaces. The key is to choose a setup that aligns with your company culture, meeting types, and team needs. The examples above are just a starting point to get your hybrid meeting rooms ready for your workforce in 2024. 

A good first step to ensuring you’re hybrid ready is leveraging a global space management platform like Skedda to streamline your conference room bookings. Create your free Skedda account to start scheduling and booking desks and meeting rooms today.

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