Highlights from our recent Roundtable Event at 8 Bishopsgate

We have just held our third roundtable event on the 50th floor of the brand-new Lookout space at 8 Bishopsgate.

Against the stunning backdrop of London, we engaged in a thought-provoking discussion around the question: How do we design workspace that can flex with the times?

Most organisations have, in some way, changed the way they work in the last three years. And most of those expect to continue evolving over the coming years. In the face of continual change, how can we design workspaces that will stand the test of time?

We discussed some key questions, and some of the key takeaways are outlined below.

November 23, 2023

How can we design our workspaces without knowing how our work practices will change?

The resounding insight was that the workspace acts as a strong magnet, attracting and anchoring your staff. By allowing individuals to grow, the workspace becomes an anchor for maintaining the culture of the organisation. One key piece of advice from a contributor, was to make sure that every corner of your space is used in a variety of ways, but ensuring that each has the same quality and provision of technological support.

Another suggestion was to over-index in meeting space and reduce in desking space, aligning with the shift towards offices being hubs for collaboration rather than a place to do solitary tasks which can be done remotely. People appreciate the fact you are creating an environment for them that will enable them to be their best, and thus they will work much better.

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How often do teams or whole organisations expect to review the way they work?

We are in an era of perpetual change, primarily driven by seismic technological advancements. The spaces to support employees will have to evolve with the nature of a liquid workforce and adapting to the needs of them. Nevertheless, the most important thing is that whatever change arises, organisations must remain connected to their people. With stress and anxiety being higher than ever since the pandemic, the necessity of listening to employees and attracting rather than mandating presence is all the more paramount.

How do we balance provision for solo working with the increasing need for flexible collaboration space?

The development and increasing us of AI will lead to an increased automation of routine tasks. Thus, the need of the workspace will be more to facilitate collaboration and nurturing culture. Practical tips included ensuring technological adaptability in the face of future change such as bookable spaces, that will offer scalability.

Can we achieve a sufficient level of reassuring consistency while enabling continual workspace evolution?

Addressing concerns about the rapid pace of technological change, the consensus was clear: they should support and enhance, not overshadow, the wellbeing of employees. Some people will be incapable of adopting the level of rapid change that is upon us, therefore, the need to ensure employees are happy remains; an environment that doesn't make people feel safe and looked after will be to the detriment of the success of the organisation.

What types of space provide the most flexibility?

The word 'flexibility' is what wraps everything together. It is crucial to think about the needs of each individual, and what will make them work optimally. However, it is recognised that the workplace may not cater for every need, and the answer to this is that the culture needs to be at the forefront. The management should framework it to a certain extent, but then by allowing the employees to evolve it in their own way, it becomes an even stronger force, after which the organisation can put in practices and features to support it.

"Great business works when you increase the potential of human interactions"
"The human feeling comes first - that is what will bring people in - then get the technology to support it."

How do we future proof the workspace?

The analogy of building a hotel was used in comparison to creating a workspace that suits everybody. The crucial point to understand is the every person uses the workspace in a different way, at different times.

The culture of any organisation is difficult to define, but what is clear is that it is defined by the people. Therefore, it is requisite that the workplace has the ability to change with us, by answering to the fundamental requirement of humans: the need to belong.

Woodhouse is positioned to provide the support and guidance necessary for organizations to thrive. If you need any help or advice around workspace change, please get in touch!

Thank you for requesting a copy of our latest download, Woodhouse Workspace - Achieving a shared management vision for people, place and pulse - Whitepaper.
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