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Scoring a Strike

Ten Ideas To Target On Return To The Office

In identifying the most prominent messages for the future of the workplace from its global network of experts, WORKTECH Academy’s Trend Report for Q3 2021 highlights some important opportunities for the Fourfront group of companies as organisations return to the office. The report also complements the current ‘deep dive’ into the design of the post Covid-19 office being undertaken with the Academy.

As leading economist Jim O’Neill explains, the composition of the CRE portfolio could well change in the near future with growing use of flexible space. Flexible space operators are set to expand off the back of exacting corporate involvement in the sector, and this represents a business opportunity for Fourfront as it develops a design toolkit with ‘activators’ and ‘identifiers’.

Meanwhile, corporate offices have got to provide a better all-round experience to compete with the comforts of home or the coworking lounge. Architect Andy Young of BIG told this Trend Report that spending eight hours in a standard office feels like taking a long-haul flight – and that must change. A focus on design quality and creative imagination in client projects will become be more important, as will providing bespoke solutions that depart from baseline (or airline) office design.

The idea of office space as an ‘opportunity structure’ – in which people can be deliberately brought together for innovation and learning experiences or kept apart for focus and social distancing – is a timely reminder of the significance of space planning and way finding as core building blocks for the new office. Office-based firms will also be required to contribute more to standards of public health in the wake of the pandemic, so there is scope for design features that boost wellbeing – from better air quality to biophilia – and help to reduce burnout.

Finally, there is further evidence in this report of the centrality of inclusion and diversity to all workplace strategy. Designing for neurodiverse conditions, which are by their nature spectrum conditions, is a complex task. However, such an approach will be a workplace essential alongside designing for sustainability as companies eye up a people-centred, low carbon future.

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