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Industry Events

A-Z of trends: K-M

Letters K-M in our annual A-Z of trends.

13/11/2019 5 min read

I – IT Revolution

In our working lives we are increasingly connected to different tools and data sources to enable us to be more productive. Connectivity happens at multiple levels. We are connected to each other via intranets, the internet, e-mail, messaging apps like What’s App and LinkedIn. In the latter case, this is often with people we have not met and who may be on the other side of the world.

Our buildings are ever more connected, harvesting data from BMS systems, sensors, cameras and IOT devices. This data can be connected and analysed automatically using AI to yield new insights and to help us drive more efficiency in our buildings and workplaces. Work has become more mobile, with connectivity enabling us to operate as we move around, with the connected car (and soon the self-driving car or helicopter) being the latest place for us to be immersed in the digital world, even as we move between meetings, or between home and our workplace.

The end result is that the quality of our workplace experience and of our personal productivity is directly related to the level of connectivity within and between these spheres.

Trevor Miles, Smarter Buildings Consulting Lead, IBM Global Business Services

Trevor Miles, Smarter Buildings Consulting Lead, IBM Global Business Services

J – Juxtaposition

The juxtaposition of old meeting new has long been a go-to theme in the building design world. Whether it’s a subtle nod to a building’s rich heritage or preserving the original features of a site when carrying out extensive renovations, marrying the past with a building’s exciting future is often the perfect way to create a unique, fresh look.

And, as the competition to attract – and retain – the best talent continues to soar, creating bespoke, sought-after workspaces has never been more important. This doesn’t mean simply adding a couple of beanbags to create an office lounge area or introducing a lone hot desk; instead, it’s about viewing a building as a whole and considering what makes it stand out from the crowd. What is its personality? What makes it different to its neighbours? And, importantly, why should people want to work there?

This year, we kicked off a major refurbishment programme, focusing on selected buildings across our North West portfolio. The £50m Pioneer scheme will see many of our landmark sites transformed and given major overhauls, taking inspiration from each building’s surroundings, its customers and, of course, its heritage. By paying tribute to its individual character – whether that be through a 1920s-style living room in reception or creating a living wall to reflect neighbouring gardens – businesses can be confident that their environment will play a key role in their future growth.

Ciara Keeling, CEO, Bruntwood Works

Ciara Keeling, Bruntwood Works

K – Kindness

With the state of the world as it is, the concept of kindness has become far more valuable to us in all facets of daily life – and this includes the workplace. Creating spaces that foster teamworking and encourage collaboration is key, as well as incorporating environmentally friendly materials, products that can be easily recycled and sustainable design solutions. Biophilia has been a huge trend over the past few years and, at its core, is the idea of bringing the outside in, to calm and care for the mind and body. The concept of wellness in the workplace – being kinder to employees – has become so important to the attraction and retention of talent that it is definitely here to stay. We have also seen businesses investing significantly in on-site facilities such as yoga studios, roof gardens and cycle hubs to ensure they are supporting a healthy work/life balance – but things are already moving on. Corporate kindness is now stretching further than the workforce and workplace; it’s all about being kind to the environment as well. Commercial decisions are now being consciously made to show kindness to the planet and an awareness of a company’s carbon footprint. Rationalising real estate, procuring sustainable resources, recycling, re-using and investing in products that are manufactured in a more sustainable way are practices that are becoming far more widespread, and this trend looks set to continue in 2020.

Charles Bramwell, Product Designer, Sixteen3

Charles Bramwell, Sixteen3

L – Locality

As homogenous high streets and big business loom, we increasingly hone our designs to draw out what is unique about localities, and strive to support home-grown entrepreneurs. Our design concepts always start with location – the heritage, industries and character of a particular neighbourhood – as well as the history of the building or site itself. Meaningful connections with community engender a sense of pride and belonging, and support the growth of neighbourhoods. This applies to the tenant base of a workplace, as well as the wider community in which it sits.

At The Department Store, a former retail destination turned design studio in Brixton, we created areas of display to showcase work undertaken within the building, as well as providing public event and social spaces for the local creative community. Bespoke desks were provided by south London joinery company, Opus Magnum, and a series of patterns were commissioned from Brixton-based designer, Eley Kishimoto, to be used in various applications.

For The People’s Mission Hall in Whitechapel – x+why’s purpose-driven workspace – the former Salvation HQ inspired a concept based around social action and the arts to offer multiple gathering spaces for the sharing of ideas. Artworks are sourced from local creatives on a rotating basis, and decorative objects within the space were curated from east London markets.

We believe that, for a workspace to flourish in its community, it should tap into the character and essence of its locality.

James Halliday, Associate, Squire & Partners

James Halliday, Associate, Squire & Partners

M – Memorable Experience

We see a growing trend in the workplace for more flexible, multi-purpose areas that are specifically designed to promote interaction and social connection, with breakout zones and third spaces that encourage collaboration between teams, idea sharing and social interaction.

Café culture now permeates the workplace and translates to higher productivity, collaboration and increased creativity. Embracing this culture in the workplace, particularly by creating a dedicated space for employees to take a break, have a coffee and grab a bite to eat, is a great way of encouraging interaction and conversation between employees and, by providing a first-class experience in-house, encourages staff to stay on site in the workplace community.

It’s all about creating a really memorable experience that helps to attract and retain the best talent, as employees now expect their workplace to cater for, and enhance, their working day with hospitality-inspired spaces that create a sense of community, help promote health and wellness and improve staff morale and engagement.

Simon Bracken, Managing Director, Scanomat UK & Ireland

Simon Bracken, Managing Director, Scanomat UK & Ireland


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