Andrew Cooke, Director of Manchester at Bruntwood Works, outlines how the lessons learned during the COVID-19 lockdown could shape the workplace of the future…
As the narrative around the current crisis shifts, and businesses across the UK look ahead to the shutters gradually lifting, thoughts are turning to what the future of workspace could look like. We know that our Bruntwood Works customers will likely return to their workspaces with fresh eyes and perhaps even new expectations, and office design will need to innovate in response.
The importance of space
After weeks of working from home, people will have missed seeing their colleagues and the wider community, and will place greater value in space that allows for more natural interactions. This isnt just meeting rooms but informal spaces like shared lounges and coffee bars, or places with breakout seating or spaces to host events.
Part of working from home also means that many people will be working in spaces that match their personalities. We all have different cognitive needs for different tasks. Some people do their best, most creative work in quiet spaces, others in busy open areas with music and more human interaction.
After so many weeks at home, it might seem alien for people to return to uniform working environments. Providing spaces for all will help harness productivity and motivation – something which is going to be vitally important to the economy over the coming months.
Weve all appreciated or even, at times, chuckled at the artwork adorning the walls of colleagues? homes during video calls, which goes to show how creativity opens up discussion. This newfound recognition of the benefits of art for promoting the sharing of ideas will come to the fore in the workplace of tomorrow.
Surroundings and wellbeing
Art connects businesses to the wider community, and it’s something weve focused on for a while. In Birmingham, weve run an artists-in-residence scheme designed to help kick start the careers of emerging artists in the city, with two local artists winning a free studio space for a year at our Cornwall Buildings last year.
Health and wellbeing at work, whether that’s physical or mental, was already becoming mainstream in workspace design before the current crisis hit. If anything, we should expect greater emphasis on wellbeing as people return to offices. Clean air monitoring and more natural style lighting, like circadian systems that reflect the body’s natural rhythm, are all innovations that will take on renewed importance and supercharge the user experience.
Andrew Cooke is Director of Manchester at Bruntwood Works. Bruntwood Works forms part of the Bruntwood Group which has been creating thriving cities for over forty years. The company creates, owns and manages over 4.4m sq ft of inspiring workspace environments and offers everything from individual coworking desks and meeting rooms to fully managed offices and retail spaces across Manchester, Cheshire, Leeds, Liverpool and Birmingham. Andrew has over 13 years? experience connecting businesses with the spaces, support and communities to thrive and grow.