Part of my reboot here on the blog is incorporating some new types of content and other perspective into the mix. One of the topics I have been very interested in lately has been workspace design thinking, especially given the work we have been doing with the upcoming launch of Betamore.
One thing is clear, the workplace is changing and there is an interesting set of trends and thinking that are driving this change among companies of all shapes and sizes. The area I personally have been focused on is the environment for early stage companies, literally at the nucleus level. I’ve had the absolute pleasure of woking with Kelly Ennis of The Verve Partnership, and her team on our new project, Betamore, and had the chance to ask her a few questions as it relates to the concept of workspace design thinking. Here are some of her thoughts:
1. What is your current take on the future of workspace design?
The future of workspace design is going to be increasingly more adaptable and flexible to the users’ immediate needs. The notion of Long Life/Loose Fit will weight heavier on how a space is programmed from the onset of the design process. The concepts of social sustainability and community building will support the early programmatic efforts and play a key role sculpting the new workplace to support the often talked about Millennials and Generation Z.
2. What drives innovation in the workplace from a facility and space perspective?
First and foremost people drive innovation; as long as they have the tools and space to be productive. Providing many different types of spaces and settings (see #01) that accommodate many different work styles, such as collaboration, heads down space, formal meeting spaces etc give the user a choice; with choice comes opportunity. With opportunity comes innovation.
3. What segment of the market (SMB, Mid-market, Enterprise, etc) is seeing the most change in workspace?
From a change perspective only, risk adverse, legacy Enterprise markets are seeing the most “change” as they tend to be more conservative in their decision making and are slower to move. Any sort of change is very dependent on leadership, market sector and culture. Smaller and younger companies tend to be more adaptable and accepting to alternative workplace strategies as they can easily grasp the business impact space has on their balance sheet.
4. Whats the biggest change coming in the workplace?
This is a tough one, because right now there are so many different types of workplaces out there (see #03). However, if I had to choose, one big thing is the hybrid workplace. Whether it is an incubator, co-working or shared space scenario similar to what Betamore is doing, or hybrid workplaces that exist solely with in an organization, such as Macquarie Bank HQ in Sydney designed by Clive Wilkinson; these are spaces that give people the choice on how they are going to work at any given moment. (i.e. sitting on a couch in an open area, or in at a hot desk).
5. In all of your experience, what is the most important element in a vibrant workspace?
The most important thing in a vibrant workspace is creating a balance between the relationships of people, culture, and ecology. Additionally identifying the goals of the space and creating environments that are aligned with those goals encourage people to behave in new ways that support the desired results, those results, of course vary across market sectors.
I love her quote, “with opportunity comes innovation,” as it resonates deeply with me on the mission of Betamore. The theme here is that people & culture are the main drivers that lead change in workspace. I think we are on the front end of major change in how we work. Not only from a space perspective, but also in terms of completely redefining the goals and objectives of “the office.”
This is a topic I will be continuing to explore on the blog with some other leaders in the space over the next many months. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comments below. Thanks for reading.