‘From Desk to City’ with Gensler Architects – 4 key takeaways


(Source: Evensi)

I recently attended the ‘From Desk to City’ panel discussion at the Storey Club. With an impressive panel line-up consisting of architects and cultural strategists, from Gensler, ING Media, Public Practice, The Place Bureau and Ross Atkin Associates, the event discussed the changing nature of work how it’s influencing the way we design our workplaces and, in turn, our cities. Dominic Lintner, Director at ING Media, chaired the panel discussion.

The Storey Club, located in Paddington, was the ideal venue to host the event since the space, itself, echoed many of the sentiments we discussed. How does one design for belonging? For trust? And, as workspaces become less spatially defined, what does that mean for the city? I recommend checking out the space if you can; it is well lit, fully stocked with all the amenities you ever need and most importantly, collaborative.

'From Desk to City' information sign

These were my 4 key takeaways from the panel:

1. Workplaces will increasingly start to mirror streets. The way a street serves a myriad of different purposes so similarly, workspaces must cater to a growing diverse workforce. For example, designing spaces that consider the requirements of female, disabled* and older workers. It is all about creating that emotive response when designing workspaces that make employees feel like the company they work for value their presence.

2. Technology is quickly disrupting the corporate workplace model. The needs of the modern workforce are evolving at the same pace as technological change and so they expect instant access to information. Therefore, transparency is key in the workplace. Ethical motivations for feeling valued at work is paramount, which can be at odds with the corporate notion of being traditionally ‘inaccessible’. Businesses need to respond to this shift in worker behaviour or risk losing a skilled workforce.

3. It’s okay to nap at work in Shenzhen. Some companies operating in Shenzhen, China allow employees to nap during work times which can, apparently, boost productivity. I have practised Yoga Nidra during my lunch break before but to adopt a radical routine, such as napping altogether, would be a major behavioural change that may take some time to get used to for those working in the UK.

4. Let the community into your building. Employees are increasingly becoming aware of the wider community where they work and care about mingling within spaces that allow public interaction. Businesses are, therefore, seeking office developments that allow the community into the building with some 4-5 developments becoming entirely of public use.

*Ross Atkin Associates are great at enabling spaces that take into account the needs of disabled people.

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