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Published 03.12.2021

Opinion — Five challenges in the modern workspace

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”

Churchill had design figured out. Architecture is responsible for our wellbeing and the way we interact, and it is a well-documented truth that a carefully thought-through space has the ability to make a difference for the health and wealth of companies. Recently, the corona pandemic has had a major impact on the way we think, behave and work, and a lot will naturally change after that. Huge meetings will be put on hold for a while, just like the summer party or the lunch break with shared food have to be reconsidered to fit our new reality. However, we believe that a handful of rules will always be applicable to the workplaces, and that right now is a very good time to rethink if your office lives up to all of them.

01. Face to face

Every workplace should be designed with room for human interaction in mind. Whether it is spontaneous knowledge sharing or planned explorations, ideas happen when we talk to each other.

02. A personal space

Work happens in many shapes and forms, and lots of people abandon their own desk for hours at a time to collaborate, give feedback and meet clients. But do not underestimate the value of a personal space for deep work; the ability to focus in a private space without visual or acoustic noise ranks among the most valuable necessities for actual work to happen. Make clear rules about when it’s okay to interrupt a colleague, and always ask yourself if a question can wait before disrupting a coworker’s concentration.

03. Let there be (natural) light

It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light. But there is no reason to not let good lighting pave the way to the spotlight. Not only is natural light good for our health and productivity. Architect Francesca Portesine from BIG states in her interview in this magazine that natural light is one of the key defining factors when asked to describe the most modern workspaces of today. Aim to have an office space with plenty of natural light, and put desks closest to window areas. Let the sunshine in.

04. Quiet please

Noise pollution is not only limited to motor traffic or construction work from the public realm. Office noise is again and again stated as one of the biggest productivity killers in survey reports, and even the U.S. General Services Administration discusses the importance of acoustical comfort with sufficient acoustic support for interaction, confidentiality and concentrative work.

05. Recruitment of talent

Major tech companies are going remote first. And while a distributed workforce might work for some digital companies, we are firm believers in the magic that happens when two or more people get together physically. In a world of strong individuals we have faith in the sense of belonging. And the greatest asset for a company when recruiting might very well be a proven track record of successful work that has been completed in attractive, human-centric surroundings.