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Expert reveals how the physical space of an office can help employee well-being

Workspace spoke to Dan Frost, Director at Frost Architects who shares his insight into how the office needs changed over the course of the pandemic, and the shift towards companies wanting people to be back in the office.

Dan says: “The pandemic has undoubtedly had a profound impact on the way we work and how we prioritise our life experiences. Initially the lockdown showed us how remote working can operate effectively. Technology was thrust into the forefront of business decisions and investment. Cloud based servers, video meetings, communication platforms and collaboration software became essential everyday working tools. We also appreciated some of the benefits to lifestyle, wellbeing and the reduction in time spent commuting. However, some also experienced feelings of isolation. The lack of social interaction and opportunity for collaboration presented its own challenges to both careers and wellbeing. So ‘hybrid working’ was born.”

“Having seen both the benefits and limitations of home working, employers quickly realised that the offer of a mix was the preferred format for many employees. This model can be presented in different ways, from complete flexibility to a set timetable of working from home or being in the office. The ‘return to the office’ has occurred naturally with many having missed the team experience, some even preferring to be in the office with their team everyday. The office environment has also experienced a forced evolution as a result of this shift in expectations. The workplace must now meet the demands for a social experience as well as maintain the flexibility and ability to communicate with other team members both in-person and virtually.”

Dan continues: “There is also a push for home comforts in the workplace. A focus on wellness has led to increased amenity spaces, places for meditation, relaxation, exercise and other activities aimed at improving our mental and physical wellbeing. Details such as plants, healthy snacks, ambient lighting, comfortable furniture, calming colours, and background music are all now carefully considered. Holistic design looking to meet the needs of the whole person. Creating happy spaces for happy people is not just sensible business strategy to optimise productivity, but more importantly addresses the fundamental need to look after each other.”

Roshi Klair, Asset Manager at Workspace details his thoughts on the importance of not compromising on sustainability when it comes to office design.

Roshi comments: “We believe that personality and sustainability shouldn’t be compromised when it comes to design – our brief to our architect firms and design agencies is always that we should be as sustainable as possible, while creating communal spaces our customers will love. Being in well-designed, attractive environments fosters productivity and creativity. One of the best things about Workspace for our customers is being amongst like-minded people and we aim for our communal areas to support this and help spark connections, from providing great cafés, to thinking about colour palette, and designing uplifting communal areas and meeting spaces.”