Meet our keynote speaker Hannah Nardini at Clerkenwell Design Week
Next week sees the start of Clerkenwell Design Week, the UK’s biggest design Design Festival (21st-23rd May). The new ‘Limited Edition‘ Sedus showroom will be heading ‘Into the Jungle’ with a whole host of key events and activities to support the launch of new products and innovations this May. The theme, ‘The Detox Office; a caring ecosystem for the workplace,’ aims to create an environment in which people can find a balance to digital work.
On Days 2 and 3 of the festival, Sedus are pleased to host Workplace Strategist Hannah Nardini (WKspace), who will be talking to us about current and future trends in the workplace jungle. She will also share the latest trends across the Global Workplace. Join us if you can, but booking is essential. Reserve your place here.
We asked Hannah to talk to us a little before the event. Read on to find out more…
Q. What are the five most important trends in office design and planning at this current moment in time?
- More emphasis on individual spaces to replace the privacy received at home. The rise of virtual meetings means more demand for quiet areas.
- Larger social spaces designed to be more flexible, like co-working areas, to support working and team meetings. With better coffee of course!
- Rebalanced meeting rooms with more smaller 2-4 person rooms instead of the typical larger meeting rooms.
- Wellbeing areas such as studios, yoga classes, parents’ rooms, meditation/reflection areas and even multi-sensory rooms.
- Bookable project areas for group creative team working with full technology integration. These rooms provide more choice on getting teams together without it being in the open plan at desks.
Q. For some colleagues, the open-plan office is a soulless destination and for others a creative workplace, how can companies create a hybrid work environment that supports everyone?
We have found the open plan is not an effective worksetting for around 50% of the workforce. While it has its place in supporting some activities, it needs to be supplemented with more variety. Keeping teams together in neighbourhoods is important for rebuilding team bonds and relationships but with alternative environments that meet more personal preferences and needs, such as quiet work rooms (1 person), libraries, reading rooms and phone pods. Even for those who thrive in the open plan, it can often crush innovation and creativity. Therefore, we see more spaces that are digitally enabled and support larger group work and meetings such as project areas/rooms, creative labs with flexible furniture solutions, stand up huddle areas and team touchdown spaces. The past 20 years of workplace transformation have shown there is no one-set solution for the workplace. It needs to be engineered around the work people do and their needs.
Q. What have you found are the key benefits and challenges of working from home for both employers and employees, now that we have experienced this style of work for a few years ?
We have learnt a lot over the past 3 years. While people still tend to enjoy working from home, there are significant downsides such as feelings of isolation, disconnection, weaker relationships, slower learning and career progression. While we note some employees are not realising some of the negative impacts complete remote working might have on their personal career trajectory, we see employers are actutely aware and are driving return to office plans to mitigate potential problems in future. The benefits seen to working together in the office are also significant. Problem solving, creative thinking, team collaboration and building social capital happen more naturally in the workplace. We are also seeing signs that time spent in meetings becomes more reasonable when you can just walk up to someone and have a quick chat instead of scheduling a 30 minute meeting. While we are unlikely to see the return to 5 days in the office, we are seeing settlement around 2-3 days in the office with flexibility built around this pattern. Early signs from our research suggest this is working well for employers and employees.
Q. How do you believe the office should evolve over the next five to ten years, what are we missing?
The office plays a big part in an organisation’s culture, but it needs to keep pace with change. The days of workplace updates happening to align with lease events is likely to change in favour of a workplace that can be constantly updated and adapted.
- More emphasis on flexibility and modular furniture solutions that allow easy reconfiguration or repurposing is a smarter strategy.
- We will see more data driven workplace design with continual gathering of information to allow optimisation of resources and efficient workplace design.
- More focus on diversity and inclusion will see more spaces designed to cater for the needs of a more diverse workforce.
- More digitally integrated spaces that enhance productivity, collaboration, and efficiency. This might include augmented reality or virtual reality for immersive meetings and training. The workplace needs to blend together a physical and virtual environment seamlessly.
- Emphasis on wellness; physically, mentally, and emotionally. Spaces that are an extension to individual lifestyles will become more attractive to employees both current and prospective.
- More sustainable and eco-friendly designed offices that use renewable energy sources, reduce waste, and encourage sustainable travel solutions.
Q. And a personal question at the end: How have you furnished your own office? Which factors were most important for you to work comfortably and efficiently?
That is an interesting question which I have never been asked before! Our office is as efficient as we can make it. From watching how we use the space we have created more areas for us to conduct multiple calls without being disruptive to each other. We have worked hard on getting acoustics right in the space without us having to build extra rooms. There is a wide array of furniture including some quite eclectic statement products. We are keen to understand how we would use it before we recommend it to our clients. Our products rotate frequently. We have also worked on improving our wellbeing too. Sitting for multiple virtual meetings each day has taken its toll on us like everyone else, so we have added more controllable lighting, planting, sit/stand desks and a better coffee machine.
Many thanks to Hannah for these insightful responses. Do you join us in the Sedus showroom (Tuesday 23rd-Thursday 25th May) to really find out more about ‘The Office Jungle.’
Find us: Sedus UK, 9 Brewhouse Yard, Clerkenwell, London, EC1V 4JR