There can be many reasons why a company might choose to create a multipurpose room in their office. Whether it is due to a lack of square footage to include separate single-purpose rooms, or to provide more collaborative spaces for your professionals, this can prove to be a lucrative option for those looking to improve their office space. Like any design project, there are a number of considerations that need to be considered to ensure users can effectively and efficiently adjust the room's purpose.
In this blog, Align's Senior AV Consultant Joel Hauxwell will delve into some common and novel uses of a multipurpose room. He’ll reveal the four most important design considerations to keep in mind when building these type of spaces, along with valuable tips.
Part 1: Do I Need a Multipurpose Room?
The rise of remote work and the growing emphasis on employee work-life balance have played a significant role in the adoption of multipurpose rooms. The most common uses of these spaces include: large meetings, conferences, trainings, workshops, cross-functional brainstorm sessions, and social and wellness activities. The most novel include: performance and arts events, flexible workstations, and virtual collaboration spaces.
Ultimately, companies decide to build a multipurpose room to achieve one or more of the following:
- Collaboration: For workplaces prioritising brainstorming and innovation, a multipurpose room can offer a dedicated space for team discussions.
- Flexibility: Organisations seeking a space that easily adapts to various functions like meetings or training sessions may find a multipurpose room to be a suitable choice.
- Employee Engagement: Modern workplaces recognise the significance of investing in spaces that foster employee well-being and engagement. A multipurpose room can serve as a venue for organising wellness programs and social events.
- Space Optimization: In cases where office space is limited or efficient area utilisation is essential, a multipurpose room can be the right solution. Eliminating the need for rooms dedicated to a single purpose enables more efficient space utilisation and potential cost savings.
If one or more of these goals is something your company strives toward, read on.
Part 2: Design Considerations
Align's Workplace Technology team has helped deliver multipurpose rooms for clients' globally. Joel Hauxwell, Senior AV Design Consultant in Align's London office, leverages his extensive experience in broadcast and performance technology fields to weighs in with 4 key design considerations and tips to consider throughout your next project.
- Audio and Sound
The goal for audio system designers can usually be summarised by one statement: “Everyone must be able to hear, and everyone must be heard.” Multipurpose rooms often present design challenges as the space may be required to operate in a number of different physical layouts.
Align's tip: Fixed purpose rooms typically require a single pair of loud speakers at the front. When building a multipurpose room, it is important to consider multiple loud speakers which can take on different functions, depending on the use of the room.
A multipurpose room's size, furniture placement, and the number of attendees can greatly impact sightlines to the video screen. Balancing the needs of all participants becomes particularly important in meetings, presentations, or training sessions where visual content is being shared.
Align's tip: Where high levels of ambient light are an issue, emissive displays are a good option. In scenarios where ambient light can be controlled and a large display is required, then projection can’t be beat!
Lighting plays a vital role in creating a productive environment for various activities. Additionally, well-designed lighting can contribute to the overall atmosphere and aesthetics of the room, creating a welcoming ambiance.
Align's tip: Where spaces are likely to hold events, performance lighting can be included to highlight presenters, lecterns, podiums, or add interest to the stage. For whatever type of lighting you choose, make sure to consider it at the earliest stage of a project to ensure that the fittings and controls can be integrated.
- Control System (User interface)
A well-designed user interface ensures that individuals can easily navigate and use the various technological components and equipment within the room. A thoughtfully designed user interface enables efficient control of audio-visual systems, lighting, temperature, and more, allowing people to customise the room to their specific needs.
Align's tip: The control system should not require an instruction manual. When was the last time you read one for your smartphone? The navigation of your control system should be intuitive. Graphical elements should be consistent, with a high-quality look and feel, and the controls must be responsive.
Align Can Help
At Align, we understand the challenges associated with creating a multipurpose room and are dedicated to helping our clients mitigate these issues and get the most out of their workspaces. Our Workplace Technology team is actively involved in client projects right from the start—we provide useful insights into the design process based on our 30+ years of experience. Additionally, we have established relationships with vendors, skilled project managers, and stay up to date on cutting edge technologies.
Contact our team today to learn how we can help you reimagine your workplace.