Written by Angela Ferguson in partnership with Business Interiors.
I’ve been a workplace strategist and designer for many years, long before the global pandemic, and I’ve always held this belief that the physical spaces we inhabit go a long way towards our humanity – in terms of our wellbeing and how we feel physically, mentally and socially; in terms of our connection to nature and the outdoors; and in terms of our ability to realise our full potential, no matter what aspect of our life we’re talking about.
These are all the reasons I became an interior designer, and for me the workplace is one of the most critical spaces we can inhabit in terms of achieving these goals. This passion and commitment to creating better workplaces for people has been the driving force of my career, and when it’s done right, I truly believe that #theresnoplacelikework. The last couple of years has really brought all of these ideas to the forefront of people’s minds, and in many ways the pandemic has finally given workplace design its moment in the sun!
Not only has the global pandemic profoundly changed the way people work, but it has also opened people’s minds and expanded their thinking when it comes to defining the ‘workplace’. Today, when we talk about workplace, we are not just talking about ‘the office’ – we are talking about a whole lot of behaviours and environments that make up a diverse ecosystem of work. And as people’s hybrid working patterns become clearer, many companies are challenged by how to create the best possible experience for their people when it comes to defining their workplace. No longer is it enough to provide an office and allow people to work from home – the full ecosystem of work must be considered.
The modern workplace is a complex network of interconnected ‘places’ that includes environments, behaviours and technologies such as:
Working From Home: supporting people with the choice and ability to work from home, either on regular days or a more ad hoc basis
Working From Anywhere: leveraging the technology we use every day to enable productivity from anywhere in the world, even combining annual leave or travel with working
Centralised Hub Office: a convenient CBD location dedicated to bringing large groups of clients and employees together to collaborate, socialise, focus and connect
The Distributed Office: suburban or regional offices and/or co-working space that enable ‘closer to home’ working and access to a wider talent pool of potential employees
The Network Village: leveraging the existing branch network to test and iterate new products, services, customer experience interfaces as well as collaborative working
The Virtual Office: the metaverse, AR, VR and the creation of fully virtual office experiences eg: onboarding and training
This ecosystem is an opportunity for all businesses to use to their advantage, and to address some of the challenges faced by corporate communities as they strive to create a holistic, meaningful experience of work for their people and support them in leveraging many of the gains of the last few years – especially around health and wellbeing. Underpinning all these experiences is good ergonomics and quality furniture system, that ensure people’s wellbeing is optimised. This is where companies like Business Interiors come in, in terms of activating and ensuring each of these spaces is not only ergonomic, but also functional, practical and aesthetically pleasing. Most of these ways of working have been around for a long time, many years before the pandemic. The thing that’s really changed now however is the uptake of the various alternatives, and how different businesses are developing their own model of hybrid working, then how they combine the spaces, places, technology, behaviours, systems and furniture around that to develop their own finely tuned ecosystem that supports them in adapting to an uncertain, continually evolving future of work.
Want more insights on workplace design? Join our exclusive 60-minute fireside chat with Angela Ferguson and Sheree Barrett-Lennard, on Wednesday 31st August at 1pm. This insightful session will cover the future of workplace design and how workplaces need to evolve their approach to build community, cohesion, and a sense of belonging to entice people to work in physical workspaces. Register now.