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The homes we live in, the restaurants we dine at and the stores we shop in are designed to shape our experience within a space. The quality of this experience has the power to affect our mood or ability to use the space effectively. In the workplace, this is no different, and the new year brings new opportunities to design workspaces that users truly enjoy coming into. Check out the design concepts that we think will shape 2022, and why the user’s experience throughout the workplace journey should influence all elements of design more than ever.
The type of impression you create for individuals entering the space sets the precedent for what’s to come. Hotelification of workplace entrances provides a warm, welcoming feeling of familiarity. This could be in the form of a friendly face at the front of house, lounge seating where users congregate, creating a vibrant buzz, or an on-site coffee shop to supply your morning caffeine-fix. The placement of people at the entrance to the workplace, like we did at Laystall Street, builds an atmosphere where an emotional connection to the space will start to develop. As our routines stabilise and our working habits become more consistent, it’s important to create opportunities for purposeful connection during the time spent in the workplace.
Convenience is king and spaces that support the user from the moment they arrive at the workplace to the point that they leave will become attractive destinations this year. Offering high-quality shower and changing facilities to active commuters can be taken one step further by looking to perks offered by gyms and leisure clubs, such as by providing on-site exercise facilities, hair dryers, and even toiletries. Additionally, electric car charging points, bike storage spaces and well-stocked kitchens or pantries are ways to ensure that the workplace is supporting people throughout the working day. This way, the workforce can focus on carrying out their job role to the best of their ability, without worrying about some of life’s daily responsibilities.
In 2022, workplace design should take inspiration from the sensory touchpoints that we encounter within the built environment. Home working gave us the freedom to adapt smells, lighting and sounds in a way that was personalised and catered to our individual preferences. It’ll be exciting to see how techniques like aromatherapy start to be included within workplace design. By offering a range of atmospheres to work in, it’s possible to create environments that are stimulating, engaging and also nurturing to the physical and mental wellbeing of the occupants.
Quite rightly, health, hygiene and employee safety are top priorities for our clients, and this looks set to continue in 2022. It’s our responsibility as workplace designers to create environments that work hard to protect the people in the space. One way to approach this is to reduce the number of physical touchpoints that the user interacts with. With the emergence of new technologies such as motion sensor operating systems, AI that monitors building usage and coffee machines operated via mobile apps, we will increasingly see workplaces designed to allow the user to glide seamlessly within the office throughout the working day.
Workplace design considers more than bricks and mortar, it considers the holistic working experience. In 2022, workplaces that offer employees easy access to the outdoors will become increasingly desirable. Not only are outdoor spaces beneficial to employees’ health thanks to the supply of fresh air and natural light, but they also offer a social space unconnected to the working environment. Here, colleagues can catch up and spend some time away from desks or workstations.
Whatever the year brings, it’s clear that we have challenges, but significant opportunities lie ahead. Flexible, hybrid working has created choice like never before, and it’s vital that we continue to design workplaces that offer choice too. This means creating connected spaces that are adaptable and put employees at the heart of its design.