Redefining office collaboration with agile space options

The modern workforce favors flexibility in the way it works and collaborates. Among current trends is the 15-minute meeting or the stand-up meeting norm.

January 01, 2021

15-minute and stand-up meetings might be the key to improve office collaboration. Does your space support them?

The modern workforce favors flexibility in the way it works and collaborates. Organizations are thus exploring unique ways to drive productive engagements. Among these is the 15-minute meeting or the stand-up meeting norm.

Be it business giants or startups, companies are embracing “agile” meetings and daily check-ins to make their teams more productive, efficient and engaged.

This calls for organizations to rethink their collaboration spaces. 

"Employees crave a mix of spaces at work for various tasks—spaces for everything from focused work, to impromptu and informal meetings, to formal meetings aligned to objectives."

That’s what we did with our new office in Shanghai, which reflects a perfect balance of comfort and collaboration and has become a benchmark globally for JLL offices. We explored several interesting ways this new office is preparing for the Future of Work, and the 15-minute meeting room is one of them.  The 15-minute meeting room is a collaboration area designed for brief “huddle” like team sessions, and the lighting system of the room is timed to ensure meetings do not stretch beyond 15 minutes.

What’s the 15-minute fad?

Research shows that human attention span is between 10-18 minutes. (This is why TED sessions are timeboxed at 18 minutes.) Applying the same logic, companies are adopting creative ways to keep meetings as short as 15 minutes and to the agenda.

At O3 World, a digital design and product development agency, the conference room is hooked up to Roombot, a technology the company created. The app reads everyone’s Google Calendars and alerts participants when the meeting is about to end. Roombot also controls the lighting in the room, dimming the bulbs in the final minutes of the meeting. the search engine for vacation rentals, has adopted a fun way to keep meeting under 30 minutes. If the meeting overruns, the person who called the meeting must put $5 in the team beer jar!

An engineering manager at one of the leading social media companies in the world is known for holding 15-minute stand-up meetings at 12pm daily – no chairs and an impending lunchtime to ensure sessions are short and sweet.

And then there are likes of Virgin, who believe innovative ideas will come from innovative spaces, a key drive for organizations to invest in vibrant and inspiring collaboration space for their staff and clients.

So, now it’s about dedicated collaboration spaces that are inspiring and flexible, custom designed to meet specific needs such as holding brief and breezy meetings. Eddie Ng, JLL’s Managing Director, East China, says the new office with 15-minute meeting rooms confirms to new ways of doing business. “We want to create a better and happier workplace for our people. We want to be the pioneer of the industry. Not just to change the workplace, but to change the way we manage people, to let our people be flexible, be agile and be productive.”

What makes our 15-minute meeting room unique?

Technology: We incorporated smart technology in the new office to improve staff productivity and user experience. The light in the meeting room goes off every 15 minutes as a reminder that time is up. In case you need to stretch and no one else is in the queue, you can switch the light back on.

Ease of use: We have our own booking system, but this room is not on the list. It’s meant to be for come-and-go use so employees can have a quick meeting without having to book it.

Energy & focus: The interiors have been thoughtfully done to enthuse energy and stay focused. The walls of the room are bright yellow, very sharp but not to the point that you feel overwhelmed.  There’s a whiteboard to take down important notes.

Capacity & comfort: The room is big enough to accommodate about 15 people, which is a typical team size. With no chairs in the room, it’s best fit for stand-up meetings—though there are cushioned wall mounts to lean on.

Flexibility: Depending on the usage patterns, you can repurpose the room. For instance, we recently partnered with a startup that created a community service app. In exchange for them giving us community advisory service, we are giving them coworking space in our office, and recently repurposed the 15-minute room for their use. After this trial, we’ll see if we want to go back to using the room only for 15-minute meetings, try another partnership or try something else.

That said, Kate Tam, Head of JLL Marketing, East China, notes that the room in our Shanghai office has caught the fancy of our employees and clients, who are eager to explore ways they can replicate the concept at their workplace.

What can you learn from our experience?

Kate says, “The 15-minute meeting room is about flexibility. That’s the beauty of this space. Ever since we moved into this office, we keep reminding ourselves that we will keep evolving our space to fit our needs because our teams change all the time.”

The key takeaway for us has been the freedom to “choose to use.” And not just in the 15-minute room. It’s about providing adaptable space that gives people the flexibility to choose the best environment for whatever needs to be done right then and there.