The event also saw the launch of our latest research report, Rethinking Workplace: UK Snapshot, which highlights the results of our study with 500 UK-based office workers. To coincide, we hosted two panel discussions with key industry experts to take the findings further.
The first focused on ‘Rethinking Stereotypes’ with guest speakers including Evelien Reich (Editor, ELLE Decor NL), Catherine van der Heide (Senior Associate, HASSELL Studio) and Marc Richard (Managing Director, Roger Lewis), alongside moderation by Creative Consultant, Katie Treggiden.
Key themes to emerge during the session included the importance of allowing employees to feel in control of their space, even if only in some small part.
Marc commented: “Control and being able to ‘own’ the space is really important for people to feel happy when at work.
“People need to be able to choose an area that works for them - somewhere they can focus. The majority want to go to an office to be functional.”
Evelien believed this to be the reason that ‘homely interiors’ are becoming more favoured in workspaces.
“Lots of people work from home, and they do so because they have their own things around them. Elements of the home have invaded the office because that’s where people feel most comfortable.”
Though Catherine highlighted the importance of retaining the office for helping “people to feel part of a community.”
“I hope the era of the ‘cookie cutter’ office is coming to an end.”
Evelien Reich, ELLE Decor NL Tweet this
Designing for Worklife
The second discussion shone a spotlight on ‘Designing for Worklife’ with moderation from Creative Consultant, Katie Treggiden, and guest speakers including Hannah Nardini (Workplace Consultant & Designer, WK.space), Russell Glover (Head of Design, Peldon Rose), Julian Ellerby (Strategy Director, FranklinTill) and Noel Brewster (Measuremen).
In this panel debate, the designers talked around how workspaces can facilitate more flexible ways of working. Noel, said: “Almost 30% of people’s time in office is not spent at their desk. Asking people what they do is key. There is a difference between what people do and what they think they do.”
Hannah added: “Open plan still has its place but it needs to be supplemented by other kinds of spaces within a workplace. One of the biggest challenges is changing cultures. Culture has to change to make flexible working function. It’s a question of trust.”
This brought the group round to considering how achievable the ‘worklife’ concept is in different regions and for various demographics:
“A recent study I read suggested that the north of Britain has the best work-life balance, while London is seventh on the list. In Scotland, 55% of people are offered flexible four-day weeks, compared to 30% of London workers. People from London feel judged for working from home as people think they are slacking. Work-life balance means something different for everyone,” said Hannah.
On differences in demographics, Julian offered: “The older generation care about what they do; the younger generation care about why they do it. The younger generation are used to fast change, instant delivery and reactions. They don’t aspire to own a home because it seems out of reach. Different generations expect different things.”
“Over the last 10 years, design in workplaces has changed massively. There is now much more of a relationship between the designer and the end user.”
Russell Glover, Peldon Rose Tweet this
Discover more from The Great Indoors at Clerkenwell Design Week in our event video, and stay tuned to the platform for more in-depth discussion around the themes raised in the panel debates.
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