Workplace Shift, Culture Lift
The landscape of workspace design has rarely undergone such a rapid, seismic shift as it has in recent years. No longer simply a place to work, the workplace is now an infrastructure for building social capital and fostering a sense of purpose and belonging. A place where a blend of community and culture can bring out the best in both employees and employers. And a place where a serious push towards sustainable living and working can be played out.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, an office is ‘a room, set of rooms or building where people work, usually sitting at desks.’ But this definition is outdated and should be redefined to something that is much more in keeping with today’s requirements. The working environment must now be an engaging, purposeful space that encourages collaborative working, vibrant company culture, enhanced productivity and overall happier people who produce a better standard of work than ever before.
Therefore, the definition of “office” is no longer factually correct.
Redefining the “O” Word
We believe the definition should be ‘A designed space where an organisation’s engagement, collaboration, culture and productivity are enhanced via its people, to achieve stated objectives and goals.’
This new wording fully embraces the way of working that we are experiencing today and will continue to see in the future. It’s a definition that does not restrict or limit the way we work but instead empowers a workforce to be the best that they can be.We are committed to creating the future of the working environment. Our belief in this mission is resolute, and as such we have trademarked the term “Redefining the O Word” – campaigning for the Oxford and Cambridge Dictionary to change their definition of the word to reflect the industry’s current ambitions for the workplace.
Crisis Accelerates Change
Crises can accelerate changes in all walks of life. We saw this with the pandemic and we’re about to see it again courtesy of the recession. The every-increasing urgency of the climate crisis is also driving change at an accelerated pace.
In the workplace, we’re seeing this pan out in numerous ways. Behavioural and attitudinal changes mean that hybrid working is here to stay. Yet the shape of hybrid working is shifting, as soaring energy prices and a desire to socialise add to the appeal of the workplace. To meet modern expectations though, the workplace must now deliver lifestyle enhancements. It needs to prove its worth when compared to working from home, with better amenity provision playing a key role.
The need to live and work more sustainably is also driving change. Natural materials and local manufacturers are very much in. Many firms are also pushing for stylish refurbished and reclaimed items, from statement furniture pieces to artworks, as they focus on reusing rather than buying new. At a macro level, there is an emphasis on updating and adapting commercial premises, rather than knocking buildings down and starting afresh.
Moving forward, savvy businesses will focus on their people and their spaces in tandem, enhancing collaboration, creativity, culture and productivity by utilising the workplace as a useful and profitable tool. When implemented well, intelligent design reinforces and supports new working practices, enhancing a workforce’s creativity, and in turn, making people happier and more productive. The workspace is an essential tool for businesses to attract and retain high calibre employees in this shifting marketplace.
We just need to redefine it.