We recently hosted our first RIBA accredited CPD event in conjunction with The Senator Group. ‘How we work’ delved into a modern approach to office design and highlighted the pitfalls to a ‘one size fits all’ attitude when designing offices. Throughout this post, we will be looking at some of the key takeaways from this seminar but we would highly recommend having a good read of the white paper that you can download below. We would like to thank Adrian Campbell, Head of workplace design at The Senator Seating Group for speaking at our ‘How we work’ event and allowing us permission to use his white paper research for this post.
According to research conducted by The Senator Group*, the average office comes to fruition after a design and construction period of six years. During this time various schools of thought from architects and interior designers to furniture manufacturers and developers will have their say as to what the ‘end user’ will need in their workspace, but throughout the whole process the ‘end user’ is often completely left out of the design process.
The Senator Group wanted to rectify this by commissioning a survey of over 2000 of the UK’s office population to better understand unique preferences and approaches to the populations working day. This talk highlighted throughout that whilst some perceptions were ‘cemented by the findings’ others proved that the modern workplace has some serious challenges to overcome.
The 2000 UK employees consisted of a mixture of ages, genders, sectors, different sized employers and location to ensure a fair sample group, and was conducted by a third party consumer agency. Using a questionnaire alongside the survey, The Senator Group were able to gain some excellent insight into how people really want to work, sit, complete tasks and their preferred working environments.
One of the biggest takeaways from this event was that although there is a huge buzz around how millennials want to work, we shouldn’t necessarily be designing offices just for them. Currently, Millennials account for just over a third of the workplace (34%) of the workplace. The Office Of National Statistics (ONS) figures suggest that the ’35 and overs will continue to make up the majority of office inhabitants for the next 10 years’. This illuminating finding was just one of the key points that indicated that the 35+ age range is the first to consider when designing offices, to ensure we create spaces that lead to satisfied and productive workers.
Throughout the talk, it became apparent that age, seniority and position in the company were the deciding factors in how the individual wanted to work.
“When we inspect the modes of work favoured by staff in senior positions, we see a marked elevation of confidence, entitlement and efficiency that is gradually mirrored by junior staff as they climb the corporate ladder”.
The largest apparent divide between the younger and older generation in a shared office space was the need for privacy and ownership amongst the older generation compared to their younger counterparts who favoured a ‘sharing economy’. However, the survey also deduced that some requirements bridge the gap between all ages such as having a place to take calls in private.
The biggest takeaway for us personally was how we can design offices that can take into account how all demographics can work together. Although a ‘sharing economy’ or hot desk design is usually the most cost-effective solution for businesses, we need to bear in mind that some individuals treasure ownership of their working spaces. In addition to this, we need to find new ways of creating privacy in these often open-plan offices whilst maximising desk spaces (standing and traditional) and task chairs.
If you came along, we hope you enjoyed the event. If you would like to be the first to be informed about our future events, please sign up to our mailing list.