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Workplace design trend spotlight: office Town Halls

More and more we’re seeing clients coming to us with plans to include a ‘Town Hall’ in their office space.

Office Town Halls aren’t a brand-new concept. However, our workspace experts have noticed an accelerated trend for business owners wanting to incorporate this kind of space into their wider ecosystem of work settings.

In this blog post, we explain exactly what an office Town Hall is, the benefits of having one, and share our advice on what to consider when it comes to the design and fit out of your Town Hall.

What is an office Town Hall?

In some businesses, a company ‘Town Hall’ meeting is simply the name used in the calendar to describe an all-hands-style gathering where every team comes together for a company-wide meeting.

However, for some businesses, these all-company meetings manifest physically in a dedicated, in-person Town Hall space purpose-built for large gatherings, company-wide communication and wider information delivery.

A Town Hall space is typically reserved for large-scale meetings where things like company updates, goals and planning are presented to all or most employees at once. That’s where the ‘Town Hall’ name comes from.

It normally involves speeches or presentations from leadership or senior members of the business in front of the rest of the business, which is why office Town Halls are normally designed in specific and similar ways.

We’re not only seeing Town Halls being incorporated by businesses, we’re also seeing Town Halls referenced as a must-have service or amenity in shared co-working spaces for multiple companies to make use of.

Town hall meeting office space

Five benefits of having a Town Hall in your workspace

Below are just five key benefits that might motivate you to add a Town Hall to your workspace next time you’re refurbishing or designing your office.

Or, if you prefer to work in co-working spaces, these are still all brilliant reasons to look for one that will provide a Town Hall-style setting for you to use.

1. A more effective way to engage and hold attention

These days, employees want to be more involved and informed about how the company operates and the direction it is going in.

Having a space (i.e. a Town Hall meeting area) where senior members of staff can facilitate and support this involvement will foster a more engaged, motivated and loyal workforce.

Having a dedicated space, designed with minimal distractions, will also keep people more engaged and set the right tone for the delivery of important company-wide information.

Office meeting in a town hall space

2. Promoting transparency, inclusivity and equality

Investing in a work setting with the specific function of communicating with employees on a company level demonstrates a commitment to transparency. This is a quality modern workers strive to find in employers.

A Town Hall also means there is one equal space where all teams and types of employees can come together and share the same experience, hear the same information and communicate across the organisational structure.

3. A stronger sense of community and belonging

It’s important for employees to feel like they’re part of the bigger picture and that they belong to a community. An office Town Hall is a physical manifestation of this community and belonging and will demonstrate an effort to foster this kind of workplace culture.

Strengthening the sense of office community

Having everybody in one room is an effective way to breed a stronger sense of togetherness.

4. Providing a platform for employees to share their perspectives

When there’s a physical space for all teams and employees of all levels to gather together, it also provides a metaphorical space for their thoughts, experiences and ideas too.

It can be difficult for some employees to raise their feelings without a space or platform for them—a Town Hall somewhat levels the playing field and provides an open environment for everyone to communicate equally.

Employees offering their perspective in a meeting space

5. Building trust and closeness with company leadership

All of the four points above combined help to build relationships and nurture trust between all teams and employees—engagement, transparency, inclusivity, community and a platform to speak and be heard.

Trust and strong relationships are a critical part of a positive employee experience and nurturing a fulfilled, loyal and motivated workforce.

How to design an office Town Hall

Now you’re familiar with what a company Town Hall is and the benefits of having one for your employees, here is our advice on how to approach designing this increasingly popular work setting.

Enough seating to sit everybody comfortably

The nature of an office Town Hall is that it is designed to accommodate a large amount of people at once. This means you need to ensure there are enough seats for this, whether that’s permanent bleacher-style seating or stackable chairs that can be moved in and out or reconfigured as and when they’re needed.

Another important thing to remember when it comes to seating arrangements is ensuring that everybody can see and hear as equally as possible, wherever they’re sat.

Minimalist comfortable seating in the office seating

A platform or main area for speakers and presenters

If you’ve got enough room and it makes sense for the space, you could consider incorporating a stage or platform for speakers and presenters to use. This will also direct attention to a central, focal point within the space.

If there isn’t enough room for this, don’t worry, you can be strategic with your furniture and tech arrangement so that you can still maintain this key focal presentation point.

AV technology to boost the Town Hall experience

Really, all a Town Hall space needs is a presentation space and sufficient seating as standard basics. However, technology is an effective way to enhance the Town Hall experience and improve things like audio-visual quality.

Higher-definition screens and good-quality speakers and microphones are the perfect examples of how to improve the Town Hall experience for all involved. Adjustable lighting is also useful in creating different moods, depending on the nature of the gathering.

Don’t forget to consider those who might be joining remotely too. As hybrid and remote working continue to become more commonplace, it’s vital to ensure employees can feel included and participatory wherever they are, in-person or online.

Using office technology

Acoustic enhancements to block out background sound

Whether your Town Hall is a contained space behind a door or a zoned-off setting in an open-plan office, acoustic solutions are a great way to ensure you’re not disturbed when a Town Hall meeting is in full swing.

Acoustic lights, baffles, soft seating and space dividers are some examples of how you can help absorb excess noise and audio disruption.

Incorporating acoustic solutions in office workplace to encourage collaboration

Colours, patterns and textures that support concentration

Think carefully about the colours, patterns and textures you include in the space.

While you want the setting to still feel inspiring and be consistent with the rest of the decor (if it’s your own office space), it’s important to remember it’s a space for listening and focus.

Don’t use any design elements that might cause distraction or cognitive overload for people in the space, especially where neurodiversity is an important consideration for your workforce.

Are you looking to refurbish your office? Perhaps you’re thinking about adding a town hall to your workspace. Get in touch to learn more about how we can support your project.

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