Following the success of our Amsterdam event at Zoku was our second event in London. Taking place at coworking space Fora in Clerkenwell, a selection of leading architects and designers from practices including MCM, Hassell Studio and TP Bennett, discussed the findings of our report Rethinking Workplace: Part 1, helping to bring some of the key themes to life.

The event also included keynote speeches from Caroline Till, of FranklinTill, and Ioannis Ioannou, Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School. Here we provide an overview of the main insights .


Ioannis Ioannou Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship BA (Yale) MA PhD (Harvard)
Caroline Till Co-founder FranklinTill

Work is no longer 9 to 5

Acknowledging the blend between our personal and professional lives, the group of architects and designers discussed the concept of worklife – largely finding it to be positive.

And although traditional hours might not suit the contemporary workforce, the office was highlighted as retaining the same level of importance as it always had.

With people now relying on technology more than ever before, the need for workplaces encouraging ‘spontaneity’ was said to be crucial in promoting collaboration.

Offices should be designed to supports all tasks

With the relevance of the office, or ‘mothership’, confirmed, the question was posed as to whether open plan serves as the best option for businesses on an international scale. In the UK, open layouts are currently the most prevalent style.

In our report, we found that people tend to have a preference on the way they like to work – either independently or collaboratively – but the designers instead felt that people tend to have different preferences depending on what they are working on.

Therefore, they agreed that offering a variety of spaces within an office to suit different tasks would help promote productivity and, in turn, greater employee happiness.

Integrating sustainability is particularly interesting to architects and designers because the industry is at the forefront of sustainability. Ioannis Ioannou

Capture the essence of the home

With ‘homification’ increasingly popular in the workplace, the designers suggested that bringing elements of the home into the office could help encourage employee comfort.

Rather than simply adding sofas and beanbags, they instead suggested thinking ‘outside the box’ to provide a multisensory experience through light, temperature and scent, all set to trigger a calming effect in employees.

Promote personalisation – with caution 

The concept of ‘home’ means different things to different people, so in response to this, the designers discussed personalisation.

An interesting point considered that the cost of living and the expense to rent in London means that many city-based employees live in shared accomodation. Therefore, they see going to work as a sanctuary, due to not having the luxury of comfort at home. 

Elsewhere, while personalisation was mainly viewed as a positive, some believed that by offering employees the ability to create a space completely bespoke to their needs, there could be issues in unused ‘real estate’ when they leave the company.

Overwhelmingly though, the consensus was that an office should be somewhere that employees can take real pride in.

The result of achieving this?

Spaces are designed to attract people, and by offering a destination that reflects the company’s brand values and ethos, they concluded that businesses would have the optimum chance at securing the best candidates to work there.

To find out more about our London event and the key research findings, watch our video.

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Anette Timmer EMEA Marketing Director Workplace and SSHL, Tarkett Full bio and articles

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