What do you feel your generation’s legacy will be in terms of workplace culture, and where do you think workplace design will move?
Joe: I think it will be about data. Whether it’s sensors, wearable technology… data is going to completely transform the workplace in the next 10-20 years. I think the big question is whether designers and consultants can figure out how to use that data effectively, and how we use it to inform design. I think there will come a time when we use that data powerfully, and I think people aren’t quite sure, yet, how to do that properly.
Olivia: I think that younger generations are more open to talking about mental health and the workplace can really help with this. So, if you’re feeling slightly anxious you can sit away from people or be in a group. This flexibility will continue and will help improve how everyone likes to work.
Obviously, coworking is huge right now – would you be happy to work in a coworking space?
Joe: I would, although I have a few friends who work in a variety of coworking spaces and they give me mixed feedback on their experience. A lot of them say that, at first, they used the amenities that a lot of coworking spaces have – but over time they’re finding they don’t get a chance to use them. In a city like London, the fewer amenities you have, the better in some ways. If you get the basics right and have the space looking amazing with nothing frustrating, you should be communicating with other companies. For example, one of the things I really like about Aecom is that you can go to Petticoat Lane, down the road, to a falafel shop, and you say to them, ‘I want an Aecom wrap’ – and they give you a discount! I really like that sort of thing – for instance, doing a deal with a coffee shop nearby instead of having a barista inside; getting people to go outside and use the amenities and businesses within the city.
Olivia: I would work in a coworking space – you’re around different people and ideas, and even if it’s someone who’s not in your discipline, it’s great to get other people’s opinions and see their work. I don’t think that coworking spaces need all the amenities they have – the real plus is that you’re around a variety of people.