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Leeson Medhurst recaps on GCUC conference 2019

On Monday, I had the pleasure of attending and taking part in a panel debate at the GCUC coworking conference in London. The session I took part in with my esteemed colleagues Katrina Larkin, David Larkin and moderated by Oliver Marlow focused on “defining new ways of working”. Whilst sitting there, in front of an expectant audience full of lunch, Oliver made a statement that struck a chord. A eureka moment for me, and the dawn of a new beginning for the coworking sector. According to him, “coworking has struggled to make money until it changed direction and moved away from openness and started to offer more traditional style of office space” Why is this so?

For some time I have been on, what seemed to be an almost solo effort to explain that not all people are the same. There is no such thing as a one size fits all policy, and every person is very different, and requires options both in and outside of the workspace. The open space, with its obligatory collaboration pod and beer tap, whilst very cool, can be an absolute turn off to many users. All businesses are made up of two very clear worker types – Puffins and Penguins. Our Puffins, the people that naturally migrate and travel tend to be gregarious in nature, and perhaps thrive in these open lively environments. However, a Penguin, whom cannot fly away, would by nature of the role they perform require functional, quiet and structured space to create their best work.

Interestingly, most businesses are made up of <65% Penguins, so forcing them to act in a way that is unnatural will only cause stress and panic, which in turn affects performance negatively and leads users to become disengaged.

I was encouraged by the moderators’ comments; the coworking sector has started to recognise the importance of understanding different worker types. And in accepting this, have turned a corner and starting to generate increased ROI. That said, we do have some way to go as we are only at the tip of the iceberg in creating a space that delivers a seamless user experience. Our day to day lives are filled with choice, and our actions are temporal. From the clothes we wear to the food we eat, we are encompassed in this dynamic space that allows freedom and dynamism. However, design a space, and it becomes locked in time, it will look the same on a Monday as it does on Friday, from month to month and year to year. Dare I say it, in time in becomes boring and uninspiring. Visiting the office, in comparison with our exciting personal lives, is arguably like stepping back in time.

How fantastic would it be if we could create the workplace that supports our needs, knows what we want, why we are here, how we feel and what our purpose is?

By Leeson Medhurst, 360 Workplace Director 

Event

Workplace Week London 2019: Productivity - Linking Workplace Design to Leadership

News

Fourfront Group appoint David Rintoul as non-exec director

Blogs

Becoming a WELL Accredited Professional

@WORKPLACE 360 | 30 Sep

Delighted to support #WorkplaceWeek again this year! Director @leesonmedhurst, will share the latest insights on workplace #productivity at our sister company @AreaWorkplaces fringe event on 12th November! bit.ly/2mlfKD4 pic.twitter.com/tkmWp9pn8d

@WORKPLACE 360 | 26 Sep

#ThursdayThoughts! It's your last chance to have your say! Take part in our #productivity #survey with @WORKTECHAcademy! You could be in with a chance to win a £250 gift voucher: bit.ly/2m1JSme pic.twitter.com/q1ZrlodZM4

@WORKPLACE 360 | 25 Sep

@WORKPLACE 360 | 20 Sep

360’s parent business, @FourfrontGroup announced this morning the appointment of David Rintoul as non-executive director! bit.ly/2lWA9xD #GreatNews #StrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/uhBgYPvEyz

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