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A studio as a strategy centre

A former garden arbour in a new guise – only a few steps separate the residential home from the studio and a building stands at the back of the garden, which functions as a separate workplace. Plain white on the outside, inside there is a lot of thinking, planning and consulting going on. Here, workplace expert Hannah Nardini is in her element: she deals with corporate structures, individual furnishing solutions and takes offices to a new level.

WKSpace headquarters

At the workplace of a workplace expert

Alongside the team at WKSpace, Hannah Nardini is dedicated to workplace consultancy and strategy development. It is about creating meaningful and effective recommendations for the ideal future worksite. When companies and clients approach her for help, a whole machine is set in motion. And whether it is downsizing a business, identifying space requirements for a relocation or a change in working environment, it always starts with data collection. Throughout the process, there is a close collaboration with all the people in the company. This includes for example, workshops, to understand the future and operational priorities and to test appetite for change. This provides the basis for further data gathering and the development of a strategy.

Hannah tells us more:

In which working atmosphere do you feel most comfortable?

As a team we practice what we preach. We use many different work settings in our own office and when travelling. This means we will work in coffee shops, on trains, client offices and in serviced offices from time to time. We have learnt a lot about what makes activity-based working more successful through our own experiences – plenty of plugs, decent wi-fi, areas that are quiet for phone calls and the ability to work in a comfortable space, from seated to standing.

Together with husband Phillip Merrick, data is analysed, processes are scrutinised and recommendations are developed. A se:air swivel chair is used at the desk.

What was important to you when building and furnishing the studio?

We want to test different products out if we are making recommendations to our clients, so we often have lots of trial furniture coming in and out. As our office is one large space, we have had to create pockets which allow us all to be on a call at the same time and not disturb each other. For this reason, having great acoustic products, planting and space dividers have been essential to make the space work functionally. In addition to the furnishings in the office, it was important to us that the office was a completely self-contained area. Despite being located at the back of our house, we wanted the feeling of separation and the mindset of ‘going to the office’ each day. During the pandemic, this was so valued to us!

What are your must-haves – what would you not want to be without in your workspace?

Must haves are a decent coffee machine, super-fast wi-fi (we have had to invest in satellite wi-fi), additional monitors to dock into, ergonomic chairs and acoustic products to dampen sound transfer. Our absolute priority is to have a space that is functional and supports our physical wellbeing, and we feel we have achieved this. Aesthetic design is important, particularly as we are on camera most of our working day, so we have been careful to manage our backgrounds.

What do you think will be the most important attributes for a well-functioning/frequently used workplace in the future?

Variety. People want different things from the workplace, and we cannot do a ‘one size fits all’. Some people like to be amongst lots of people and in an energetic, lively space. For them, open plan is perfect. But other people might prefer to focus in areas that are quiet and tucked away. For them, spaces such as booths, pods and private work rooms are more suitable. We need to look at workplace design based upon the people it needs to support. This is what our consultancy process is about.

What is the “most wanted” piece of furniture of the last two years in new interiors?

Without a doubt – pods! Spaces that support virtual meetings, phone calls and private working but without building walls. There is a desire for multiple spaces to be added quickly so acoustic pods are a perfect solution and one we recommend on every project we work on. They also meet the need for flexibility. Other solutions that are proving popular are informal meeting areas such as a high back booth, dining areas to support socialisation and improved ergonomics such as sit/stand desks.

Sitting or standing? How do you prefer to work?

A mix of both. I like standing for short periods of time or when on phone calls or virtual meetings but I seem to fidget more when I need to really focus so I am better sitting down for these types of tasks.

“We have learnt a lot about what makes activity-based working more successful through our own experiences.”

Partner with fur – dog Malfy is a permanent member of the team and also has his favourite places in the studio.

Who works here?

Hannah Nardini is one of the UK’s leading workplace strategists who takes a unique and holistic approach to workplace solutions. Her focus is on creating an environment that increases productivity and employee satisfaction.

Text & Photos | Johanna Soika

Taken from the Sedus LOOKBOOK

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