How Incorporating a Town Hall Space can Maximise your Office Asset!


What is a Town Hall Space? 

Town hall spaces are specifically designed to support a large range of activities such as multiple team meetings, big corporate events, presentations, and social events. A town hall space can accommodate a significant number of people; they are used to encourage collaboration and they typically offer more than a traditional meeting room, with a more open and flexible layout. 

A town hall space is not just for large company briefings and events. If designed well it should be a space that is flexible to support a multitude of workplace activities including quiet working, 121s, team collaboration and larger team meetings and events.  

Are Town Hall Spaces only for large organisations with lots of people? 

Regardless of the size of your business a town hall space can be created as a core area and hive of inspiration for employees.

Our client Reward Finance have around 30 employees based in their Leeds office and when moving office spaces they wanted to create a hybrid working environment with a choice of work settings, including a flexible breakout space. This area was designed to support various types of activity from work to collaboration to company events and town hall. The space included two comfortable booths for informal meetings, collaboration or quiet working, a central social island with a lockable drink’s cabinet for events, a pool table and soft seated gaming area.

How can a Town Hall space help me maximise my office asset?

Space optimisation and efficiency is always important to our clients, and creating amazing spaces with dual functions has always been a priority. This is even more evident as today’s workplaces are often challenged with the peaks of busy and quieter periods as employees work more flexibly than ever before. Creating flexible town hall or learn and share spaces is a great tool to manage attendance peaks and maximise your office asset. A town hall space is effectively a large breakout space, but with the added flexibility to adapt to different workplace demands. Here are just a few examples of our previous clients and how we helped them to create their own ideal town hall spaces:

Equifax, Nottingham 

Like many businesses today, Equifax chose to move to a hybrid working model in their Nottingham office. Despite having around 300 employees, only 160 desks were installed in the office space, which meant that the remaining space could be utilised with flexible meeting and work areas to meet their hybrid working demands. A flexible town hall space was included within the design to the meet surge in office demand on days with peak employee attendance and offer larger team collaboration as well as an events space.

When we revisited the space 12 months later, we questioned if sacrificing desks for more collaborative spaces had caused an issue of employees not being able to find a place to work. The feedback was that the team can always find somewhere to work comfortably as the design is so flexible. This model also meant that the uptake of employees returning to the office was even greater than expected.

Unilever, Leeds 

As part of their back to the office strategy, Unilever wanted to refurbish an existing central breakout space into a more flexible town hall and learn and share space. The concept was to still retain the function of a breakout space for lunch breaks and informal team meetings but design a more flexible space that could be reconfigured into various sizes of theatre arrangements. The design incorporated a mixture of flexible furniture and AV, fixed auditorium seating with curtains and acoustic baffles included for added privacy and improved acoustics. The space can be reconfigured to meet the needs of different size events from 50 in a closed auditorium to 150 if used with the flexible breakout area.

Employees across the business are encouraged to attend knowledge seminars, company briefings as well as take part in new product testing and launches in this multifunctional space. The feedback from Unilever is that the space has been embraced by all the teams, and they are seeing employees arrange office days so they can attend seminars, improving social capital and collaboration between teams.

KCOM, Hull and Appleyard Lees, Leeds 

The offices we created for KCOM and Appleyard Lees are a great example of how you can create a space that can provide the function of a town hall space when required, whilst still being utilised effectively to support the business day to day.

At KCOM an auditorium space was created alongside the breakout space with the ability to screen off the auditorium during training sessions using flexible acoustic panels. When the auditorium is not in use or a larger town hall area is required, the flexible panels could be adjusted to open up the space into a larger town hall area to accommodate more people or utilise the auditorium for more informal breakout.

Appleyard Lees decided to invest in a flexible meeting room arrangement in their Leeds office. We created two side by side meeting rooms with a flexible bi-folding wall between them to open into a larger boardroom or seminar space. These meeting rooms were also positioned next to the breakout area, with a flexible glass bi-folding acoustic wall fitted to the front, allowing the team to open the entire area of both meeting rooms so it is part of the breakout space, to support occasional company town halls and customer events.

How can a Town Hall Space support remote workers? 

For those who work fully remote, it is possible to feel less secluded, more involved and engaged through the use of a town hall space. Companies can use workplace technology and utilise video conferencing tools, such as Google Meets, Zoom and Microsoft Teams to involve remote workers, which provides them with the same information as those in the office and on site. Because town hall spaces can accommodate large meetings and numbers that would not be supported elsewhere, even in a boardroom, remote workers are encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas, ask questions and engage with others so they will never be missing out on those all-important companywide communications, promoting inclusion and a sense of belonging. Most town hall spaces feature audio-visual equipment to support with this, such as sound systems to support multimedia content and projectors.

Access to the most recent workplace search and insights found only 11% of employees would come to the office to sit at a desk while 85% would return to build team bonds and socialise with co-workers – it is more important than ever to provide a choice of workspaces for employees to work effectively, and Town Hall spaces are way of truly maximising the use of your office space.

Today’s workplaces need to work harder than ever before with employees seeking more effective and fluid ways of working. Adding purpose built spaces such as town hall areas to promote a collaborative and welcoming environment for your employees will strengthen your employee engagement, and can improve workplace culture overall.

If you want to learn more about how adding a town hall space to your office can help your business, please get in touch – we would love to hear from you!