How Design Plays A Key Role In The Success Of Flexible Workspaces

At the Workspaces Day conference in Barcelona this week, panellists discussed the role of design in the success of coworking spaces.
  • At the Workspaces Day conference in Barcelona this week, panellists discussed the role of design in the success of coworking spaces.
  • One of the key changes happening around workplace design is that there is pressure to create environments that are not only beautiful, but unique.
  • Coworking design must embrace the concept of ‘co’, which includes how occupants interact with each other, how they move through the space, and their use of technology.

The Workspaces Day conference, organized by ProWorkspaces, took place today in Barcelona. The event kicked off with a couple of panels, one of which focused on the role of design in coworking spaces. Moderated by Francisco Vázquez from 3g SMART GROUP, the panel emphasized why design plays a key role in the success of working spaces. 

The panelists were Leyre Octavio from Savills, Eduarto Santos from SDV & Partners, Juan Caros Santos from FAMO, and José Antonio de Pedro from COMMUTY. 

“Design is what catalyzes change”
– Leyre Octavio, Savills

Because design is something tangible, something that people can easily perceive, it plays a key role in catalyzing and driving change. One of the key changes happening around design of workplace environments is that there is now a huge pressure in designing not only beautiful, but unique workplaces. 

“There’s a need now to have various consulting services around design,” Francisco Vázquez stated. Designers are having to increasingly address loneliness, happiness, wellbeing, inclusivity, and biophilia in their design strategies and propositions.

Design has become a core element in the success of a workplace. In fact, Savills’ latest What Workers Want report found that workplace design is among the top 3 things that workers value the most. Not just in terms of aesthetics, but in terms of usability and experience. 

Design plays a key role in success for a number of reasons:

  • It can help improve productivity levels. Eduardo Santos mentioned that in the UK, workplace design was the main culprit in loss of productivity. 
  • It means you can increase your rent/prices because people truly value (and are willing to pay more for) great, thoughtful design. 
  • It can help you attract talent and new clients. Your workplace design is your business card, and you only get one chance to make a great first impression. Having thoughtful, impactful design can help flexible workspace operators attract new members. 

“There’s more to design than aesthetics.” – Eduardo Santos

Today, workplace design is about much more than creating beautiful, Instagrammable workplaces. Workplace design should be beautiful, but also purposeful and sustainable. Your workplace design should clearly reflect your culture and values. 

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“Design is now a holistic concept.” – José Antonio de Pedro

Great design requires investment and methodology in order to create a workplace that is truly designed for the end-user. This means thinking about which technology will be used and how; the different ways that people interact with each other and with the physical space; and how people will move throughout a workplace. 

“Design is what materializes and brings to life your workplace narrative.” – Juan Carlos Santos

Coworking space design has greatly impacted the corporate world. Coworking has had a huge impact on how enterprises view and experience the workplace. 

“For coworking design to be effective, it needs to fully embrace the concept of co”
– José Antonio de Pedro.

“There’s been a conceptual change around workplace design,” Leyre Octavio mentioned. “And part of this change has been driven by coworking spaces. Coworking spaces brought to light the huge gap that existed between the traditional workplace and worker dynamics.” 

Coworking spaces shifted the paradigm and created new expectations on how the workplace should be, and how work should be done. 

“For coworking design to be effective, it needs to fully embrace the concept of co,” said José Antonio de Pedro.

“Humans are social creatures. In the past, design tended to lean towards individualism, but this has changed now. Effective design is design that truly embraces the concept of ‘co’: communication, collaboration, community.”

Final Thoughts from the Panelists

“True flexibility in the workplace is the ability that a physical environment has to adapt to changing work dynamics. Flexible workspaces are spaces that enable individuals to switch between tasks and that support individual and team work.” – Juan Carlos Santos 

“The greatest design challenge today is being able to cater to the needs and wants of three or four generations at once. More importantly, workplace design should be customizable in order to create a workplace that’s not only comfortable, but conducive to productivity and wellbeing.” – Leyre Octavio

“We cannot continue to design for the needs of today. We need to start thinking about the needs of tomorrow. With this in mind, it’s important to design workplaces where people can grow professionally.” – José Antonio de Pedro

“The key to successful design is its ability to create an environment where people can create and discover things that we don’t yet know are possible.” – Eduardo Santos

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