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Exploring What it Means to Thrive at the Workspace Design Show 2024

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By Richard Liddle – 13th March 2024

The Corstorphine & Wright Workplace Sector team have been out and about this year gathering insights into the latest innovations and trends within the industry.

Having attended in previous years (catch up with our reflections on the 2023 show here), one event that always proves to be an invaluable experience is the Workspace Design Show in London. Richard Liddle, Senior Designer, has shared his takeaways from this year’s show.

This year’s theme was “Bloom: Exploring the thriving ecosystem of work life” and this was realised in every aspect of the show. “Thriving” can mean different things to different people, but a thread that was weaved through many of the discussions was that “we are in the midst of a workplace revolution” in the aftermath of the pandemic and designers need to recognise these shifts in their work.

Responding to the Next Generation

The office is important as an environment for mentoring the next generation – this has been evident in recent years when working remotely from home during the pandemic. In particular, younger people or those starting out in their chosen career have at times struggled to develop within their skills and roles because of the physical distance from more experienced members of their team working from home. However, the “blurring of work/life boundaries” is not ideal for all. Many people in the workplace need a definite line between their work life and their home life which may mean an end to the trend of the Resimercial office.

With regards to this, we are being asked to include more and more meeting and quiet spaces within office designs, so individuals can concentrate better on certain aspects of work and development, but have that easy connection to the rest of the team when required. Providing spaces that provide the comfort and privacy of working from home, but within a physical office environment.

Attracting the Modern Workforce

With Hotelification and Resimercial being done everywhere these days, what is the next big thing for the workplace? Neurodiversity? Wellness and Wellbeing? “The ideal office is a moving target” and the needs of its employees are constantly evolving.

What we do know is that the modern workforce is more inclined to move jobs than ever before, so leadership needs to provide a more considered and modern approach to their workplaces to help keep hold of their staff.

Companies now need to look at providing all manner of amenities for their employees. Onsite – gyms, coffee shops and food halls can allow individuals to benefit from being ‘at work’ and providing quality changing and shower facilities helps encourage a healthy/happy workforce.

I particularly found interesting the discussions around an ‘enabled workplace’. As designers and architects, should we treat a workspace as a theatre and create adaptable spaces? An adaptable space changes to the needs of the clients and end users without too much disruption to day-to-day activity and low cost. This has been particularly relevant to our government and public sector projects.

Wellness is also an aspect of the working ecosystem that is becoming more vital. The idea of different spaces within an office being connected via ‘Wellness Corridors’ refers to the clever use of circulation space between the working areas to help with staff wellness and well-being. 2 in 5 people say that work “has a negative impact on their quality of life”, so I feel a responsibility as a designer to create spaces that counter those statistics.  

It seems that we are at the very beginning of a ‘workplace revolution’ and the aftermath of the pandemic may have long-term implications for how we relook at planning the office environment. One thing is for certain though… it won’t go back to what it was before the pandemic, and healthy work environments and technology will play major parts.

Read more about our Office & Workplace expertise and download the brochure here.


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