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The New Office Takes Shape

Defining the key elements of the post-pandemic workplace.

In defining key characteristics and priorities for the post-pandemic workplace, WORKTECH Academy’s Trend Report for Q2 2021 highlights some important design, strategy and fitout opportunities for the Fourfront group of companies as organisations return to the office. In particular, this report provides a framework for the forthcoming ‘deep dive’ into the design of the post Covid-19 office that Fourfront is set to undertake with the Academy.

An emphasis on innovation space designed to foster company creativity provides a platform to focus on design quality, craftsmanship and imagination in client projects. Providing a sense of inspiration and awe as part of a creative environment should encourage the promotion of more bespoke solutions that depart from baseline office design.

Similarly, the green agenda now widely championed at boardroom level creates the opportunity to advance design strategies that feature natural, sustainably sourced materials, provide views of nature, and use space in an efficient and economical way to reduce the environmental impact of business. Clients are also likely to pose important questions around ventilation, air quality, daylight penetration and biophilia is a bid to make offices healthier and safer for the returning workforce.

A clear accent on people-centric place-making will enable Fourfront to address issues of inclusion and diversity, which are becoming central to all employers. Pay close attention in particular to design for neurodiversity; this can be complex to navigate – one person’s design heaven can be another’s design hell. Agile environments too need careful design as office occupation levels fluctuate during the working week. Fewer assigned desks and more collaboration spaces appear on the horizon in the era of hybrid work.

Finally, the digital workplace blending physical and virtual space will set new challenges. Technologies such as extended and augmented reality will impact on Fourfront’s design process. The rise of the ‘digital twin’ will enable client and designer to simulate changes in a virtual model before building out the physical space. Interesting times ahead.

What are the design and cultural values that should inform new workspaces? And how can companies make the office an attractive proposition to employees who now have more choice in where and how they work? Our latest trend report explores six desirable characteristics for the future office.


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