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Intelligent Design – Why it Matters in Your Future Office

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It goes without saying that anyone can arrange a combination of desks, furniture and even placement of walls throughout an empty office to create a new ‘layout’. But when it comes to creating an environment that is productive, flexible and proofed for the future, getting the intelligent ‘why’ behind the office design is of utmost importance.

When organisations take out a new lease or buy a new property for their office, this is a significant undertaking where return on investment is important, particularly when it comes to staff productivity and engagement outcomes. So how do we make sure the numbers align both financially and also in relation to key organisational and staff objectives?

In the last 24 months, they way we view, use and approach the workplace has changed dramatically, and designing an office that reflects such changes is critical to an effective post-COVID workplace. We must remember that offices are designed for people to use, so must be based around people – your people.

While there are countless ‘future work’ ideas out there, and many of these are great, at the end of the day, your office is about your organisation and your people, and therefore must support the specific needs of your staff, their challenges and their ways of working.

Office spaces must now work harder, offer more and be more than just a place in today’s society – the office is now competing with the comfort of your own home, and to be effective, must reflect the fundamentals of both a ‘destination’ and an ‘experience’.

Organisations globally are embracing the fact that to encourage staff into the office, regardless of how regularly this may be, the environment must be ‘worth the commute’. That’s why intelligent design that reaches the very essence of the ‘why’ is so needed if your future workplace is to be a success.

So what is the ‘why’ behind intelligent office design?

Health and wellness

Workplaces will need to strengthen the connection between the physical environment and wellness more than ever before. We are going through a time where staying home has been promoted as being the safest space. The transition back to work and leaving that safe space is going to be challenging for many.

Keeping employee’s mental health as a priority is imperative to creating a safe and healthy workplace. The changes we can make in the workplace to help promote health and well-being are both physical and psychological. The workplace must act as a ‘sanctuary’ for employees, where staff can come together to find support, as well as support each other.

Flexibility and collaboration

A great workplace design allows for a high level of flexibility, with a variety of different work environments incorporated into an intelligent, strategic design.

In our post-COVID world, the concept of providing staff with the ‘tools’ to create their own space to meet the demands of the current situation has become an ever-emerging theme in the design world. This adaptability of workspaces allows staff to take ownership of their work and thrive.

In a broader sense, we are now living in a time where employees have the opportunity to work from anywhere. So the office needs to become a destination people want to come to. While perhaps smaller, and no doubt more efficient, the physical space of today needs to be a hearth-style nucleus that establishes and maintains your organisational identity and promotes a sense of belonging in your staff.

At the same time, greater flexibility ensures greater levels of and more effective collaboration amongst staff. Whether it be between staff within the physical office or collaboration between the office and staff working remote, the way flex spaces and technology are incorporated into the design can make or break the success of the workplace layout.

Designing for the future – not just for one lease term

Workplace design in the 2022 and beyond will be dynamic and different to anything we’ve experienced before. Many organisations will no doubt experiment with different working models as they come to grips with the fallout of a once-in-a-century pandemic. Many businesses will choose one path initially, then will change course as the outcomes fail to meet expectations.

Ultimately, the right solution will depend on finding what works for them and then defining and refining it over time. Within this process, intelligent and thoughtful workplace design is more than just a great starting point, it can become the catalyst for business success.

At Contour, our team of specialist interior designers are at the cutting edge of future workplace design trends, and build on our extensive research into the dynamics and data that drives a successful workplace to ensure that every workspace we deliver is productive, vibrant and successful.

Our in-house collaborative team approach takes into consideration all the aesthetic and functional aspects of your workspace. We examine what makes your business what it is. We identify your brand DNA. We look closely at how your staff work together and use their workspaces, and how they utilise technology. All of these elements, and more, are incorporated to deliver the very best in workplace design, ensuring you and your team a ‘home away from home’.

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