Keeping London at the forefront of global business
working with and for the whole UK
Designing workspaces to inspire collaboration
3 March 2021
The pandemic has undoubtedly caused a seismic shift in the way people work. Employees in London, and the rest of the UK, had to suddenly adapt to working from home last year and many are still experiencing the challenges of remote work almost twelve months later. With innovation and productivity stifled and more workers citing burnout than ever before, the pandemic has highlighted the role of the office as a source of productivity, inspiration and a better work-life balance. A recent WeWork survey found that when workers could return to the office they reported a 54 percent increase in morale compared to those working from home.
Now workers have experienced more choice on how, where and when they work, flexibility is going to be key for any business looking to prioritise employee wellbeing. A JLL study recently found that 66% of workers want to alternate between different places of work going forward and we’re similarly working with companies looking to adopt a hybrid model of remote and in-person work to provide their workforces with optionality. But what does this actually mean for the office and how can we ensure that employees return to offices that are fit for purpose? Our design and development teams are reimagining office space into something that reflects how people will want to work when they return.
We have created collaboration hubs in a number of our buildings by taking our existing spaces and designing them to meet different working styles, illustrating how we believe offices will be used moving forward — as centers for human connection and innovation. Prior to the current lockdown, our own employees were using the collaboration hub in our international HQ in Waterloo, which was our first one, and we got great feedback from them on how it enabled them to work in a more interactive way and captured all the ways of working they had been missing at home.
We’re now working with a number of large enterprises in London and across the globe to design bespoke collaboration hubs tailored to their needs. Our design process involves breaking down square footage into percentages attributed to particular activities and then modelling layouts according to how the space will be used. We then reconfigure the space into this new design, with a mix of ‘active’ and ‘focus’ areas that create physical spaces for different workstyles and project needs.
Workspace that cultivates ‘active’ collaboration and brainstorming requires presentation space, soft seating and breakout areas designed to spark conversation and ideas, whilst ‘focus’ areas enable heads-down work for those employees who need to be able to concentrate, free from distractions. By configuring our spaces this way we’re giving our members choice in the type of environment they work from designed to suit their businesses and employee needs.
The pandemic has provided a unique opportunity to reimagine how workspace can be used and what it should look like. As businesses look to reinvigorate their workforces and bring them back to the office safely, London’s businesses need to ensure their workspaces are ready to meet their changing needs. Adopting a user-centric approach to workspace will encourage employees to use it as a place for collaboration and interaction and, when coupled with more flexible ways working, the office will remain a hub of inspiration and innovation.
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Our members include over 200 of the capital’s leading employers across a wide range of sectors, with a common commitment to our capital.