Project rooms - your best 2021 office update. Part 1

14th February 2021

3 minute read

As the Hybrid Working model becomes the norm, our office spaces must be optimized. 

We are likely to see the addition of 2 types of spaces:

  • Project Rooms
  • Focus Rooms

Here is our Complete guide to Project Rooms for 2021

2021 Workplace - Whay one size does not fit all, title image

In this guide you’ll learn:

Part 1.

  • What Project Rooms are
  • What the Key Features of Project Rooms are
  • What the benefits of Project Rooms are
  • How Project Rooms compare to traditional meeting rooms
  • How Project Rooms support the Hybrid model

Part 2.

  • How big your Project Room should be
  • How to use Project Rooms
  • How to locate Project Rooms
  • How to plan your Project Rooms

1. What are Project Rooms?

The demand for office space will reduce. Most of us will see our workplaces get smaller. But how should we change the remaining spaces to serve us into the future? 

According to global workplace experts Woods Bagot, in the post-Covid workplace “we'll see the physical office becoming a more club-like space, a place of creative interaction.”  

Our offices should become less focused on individual work, with more spaces to create together. 

Large open-place workstation areas simply aren’t optimal for creating together. We’ll need spaces that provide privacy and tools for dynamic team work. More enclosed than open-office areas, less formal than meeting rooms: meet Project Rooms.

A project room is an enclosed space optimised for team-work. It is the perfect environment for a group to develop ideas and brainstorm together - a private environment for innovating.

2. What are the key features of Project Rooms?

1. Huge white boards

  • Encourages creativity
  • Visualise ideas in ways impossible on-line
  • Can be a stacking system to save work between sessions

2. Electric workstations

  • Ergonomic working for longer sessions
  • Reuse open-plan furniture
  • More personal space than a meeting table

3. Curtains beside the corridor glazing

  • Ensures privacy
  • Blocks distractions
  • Better room acoustics
2021 Workplace - Whay one size does not fit all, title image

3. What are the benefits of Project Rooms?

1. Routine

Returning to the same location with your project group weekly allows for easy cognitive switching back to the project at hand. We humans need routine and stability.

2. Communication

Get more done when physically in the same space. Read body language, know your colleagues and connect.

3 Creativity

Use large scale physical tools such as white boards and sticky notes - get offline and create.

4. Privacy

Be confident that you’re ideas are not overheard outside the group

Don’t disturb other colleagues. Focus on the project.

4. How do Project Rooms compare to meeting rooms?

Why create project rooms when we could just use meeting rooms for the same function? Meeting rooms don’t quite give the same benefits. Here’s how they compare:

5. How Project Rooms support the Hybrid model

Project Rooms fit perfectly with the concept of the Hybrid Working Model.

Many employees will choose the solace of the home office for several days per week, benefiting from reduced commuting. Those in need of more social contact will choose to be present on-site more frequently,  even for individual tasks (so some open-plan workstations will still be needed).

For both groups Project Rooms will provide the perfect venue for regular team-based project development work that is simply not possible in an online forum or in the open-office. Project Rooms can be allocated to a project group on a recurring basis, so that they have it in use for the same morning weekly say, or perhaps for a full day every second week, enabling Project Room usage to become part of an employee’s routine. Adding Project Rooms is an ideal way to prepare your workplace for its more collaborative future purpose.

How about in your organisation? Do you think additional Project Rooms would be valuable for your organisation?

Let us know by adding your comments through the form below.

Next time: Project Rooms Part 2:  Design Your Project Rooms

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Robin Wycherley Portrate By Kristiina Hallinen 2021

About the author

Itu Design is run by Robin Wycherley, an English Interior Architect based in Helsinki since 2003. His local workplace knowledge and understanding of international projects makes Robin the first choice for global organizations seeking a local expert. Robin has completed workplace design projects for Samsung, AbbVie, Takeda, EY, Visma, The United Nations, Gartner, Carefusion, and Qlik.

Robin is a member of SIO, the Finnish Association of Interior Architects.

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