Our panel discussion on changing trends in human behaviour and the way we work yielded some fascinating insights into the future of our workspaces and employee needs.
We held the event in the intimate surroundings of the Club Room at Home Grown, a private members’ club in Mayfair that brings investors and innovators together. Our thanks to the team for hosting us, and our excellent speakers who kept our audience engaged with a wide-ranging discussion that covered everything from stress in the workplace, the psychology of corporate managers and the need for solitude, to the open plan vs private space debate in office design:
- Clare Dowdy, Moderator and Journalist
- Walter Craven, Innovation Entrepreneur and Founder of Make.Work.Space
- Lucy Beresford, Broadcaster and Psychotherapist
- Simon Jordan, Design Strategist
In this article, we summarise some of the key takeaways from the event.
Employee needs and values
Lucy Beresford started the discussion by exploring new issues relating to mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. With the pandemic giving many people pause to consider their work-life balance, employees are now much more aware of the factors that are conducive to their wellbeing. Gone are the days where we are prepared to accept extensive travel for work or a 100-hour working week.
The workforce, particularly younger generations, are also now more driven by their needs and values, where previously a job title or high salary might have been the key drivers. They are more likely to question who they work with, how they work and if their values align with their employers, and are more likely to be vocal about how working conditions impact their lives.
What should a workplace be? The four ‘C’s’
As a design strategist, Simon Jordan shared his insights into how the changing role of the office fits with these changing needs. Companies no longer want the capital outlay of expensive office spaces – most prefer to prioritise engendering a happy and productive workforce. Rather than trying to fit as many bodies in a space as possible to maximise the cost-effectiveness of leases, we’re going to see employers opting for spaces that provide ‘the four c’s’ for employees – spaces to:
This is an inversion of the past ten years, where employees had to be in the office 5 days per week and office spaces featured banks of desks and not much else. The future office will prioritise breakout spaces, community spaces and more social spaces in general.
Having spent much of the past two years working from home, employees now want more agency and control over how they spend their time. Rather than a hybrid arrangement where people work either from their home or the office, Simon suggests we’ll see more of a distributed workplace which includes a range of settings. Employees might be given the option to take a membership at a coworking space or a private members’ club for example. The focus will be on empowering people to choose where and how they work.
Empowering the workforce with choice
Our founder, Walter Craven, continued on the theme of employee empowerment. Referring to research we conducted into where and how people prefer to work, he cited the need for solitude and quiet, safe spaces to accommodate those who don’t want to be in the fray. There are many who don’t find their offices or homes to be productive working environments. And with a lack of ‘third space’ options, aside from noisy coffee shops or park benches, it was this need for alternatives that inspired Walter to design our Micro Office.
The Make.Work.Space Micro Office is the Uber or a Zipcar option in the evolution of the workplace – safe, defensible spaces which can be deployed around cities and are accessible to everyone. They are not glorified phone booths like many of the ‘pod’ products on the market – rather, they are beautifully designed spaces that offer users the chance to work or relax in comfort and serenity around the city.
A new way of working
As we continue to learn how the world and the workforce is changing – and with it, our relationship to work, career, and the office – it’s clear that there’s no ‘going back to normal’. Our thanks to our fantastic panel for illuminating the key trends and changing patterns of behaviour, and our audience for joining us in the discussion and sharing their experiences and thinking.
To find out more about the Make.Work.Space Micro Office or discuss any of the issues raised at our event, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.