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The Office Agenda brings together our extensive insight into what makes an office that people – from employees to the board – prefer.

Places People Prefer

The Office
Agenda

Design

Changing workplaces

A selection of the country’s top office designers share their thoughts on the changing workplace and the current emphasis on wellbeing

To coincide with the British Council of Offices (BCO) Conference, The Architects’ Journal asked a selection of the country’s leading experts in the field a few questions about the future of offices. Here are some highlights.

You can read the full article on the Architects’ Journal website.

What one thing do you think needs to change in the next generation of offices?

Jacob Loftus, chief executive and founder, General Projects

The focus of the building needs to be reorientated around the individual employee, focusing on their user experience, and delivering both aspirational design and providing space that functions as a service. The last generation of offices were designed for CEOs and corporations; the next will be designed for people.

J-J Lorraine, co-founder, Morrow + Lorraine

Offices have to be made to do more for longer. Offices are empty two days out of seven and when you factor in the broadly diurnal patterns of working, they are empty for twice as long as they are occupied. Isn’t that totally mad?

“The last generation of offices were designed for CEOs and corporations; the next will be designed for people”
Jacob Loftus, General Projects

Christos Passas, associate director, Zaha Hadid Architects

What needs to alter is the approach to integrated technology and working habits. Offices need to re-focus on human beings and not the computer. How people feel differs from day to day – in terms of mood and concentration levels – and workplaces need to accept these kind of variances.

Is the current focus on wellbeing a fad?

Ken Shuttleworth, founder, Make, incoming president, British Council for Offices, and BCO Conference chairman

As a principle, no. But I’m not sure how robust the grading is at the moment. It certainly needs to be able to work alongside other drivers, ensuring the building itself is sustainable as well as providing for the wellbeing of occupants. The two shouldn’t be mutually exclusive but, as it stands, some areas seem to preclude one or the other, which will need to be reassessed if it is to succeed.

Jacob Loftus, General Projects

It’s a reflection of how backward the industry has been that we’re only just beginning to think about the wellbeing of the individuals that occupy the buildings we create. The next few years will see an increasing obsolescence in those buildings that don’t deliver environments that foster wellbeing for their users.

Hazel Rounding, shedkm

Wellbeing has to become more and more important as technology progresses and isolation in devices prevails. Wellbeing and health will kick back as future generations realise the impact of constant attachment to screens and information exchange. As the boundaries between our work hours and personal lives become more and more blurred, and our expectation to react to matters at any time of the day/night become more demanding, awareness of wellbeing is essential. Future generations may even question our current actions, the same way later generations have questioned the work expectations of the industrial era,


Click here to watch British Land’s Rob Samuel and Xavier Walker talking about why smart office technology needs to be people-centred.

Click here to read more about the importance of wellbeing in offices

Tagged in: DESIGN, TECHNOLOGY, USER EXPERIENCE, WELLBEING

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