1. Companies are moving towards a collective design identity
Oktra is an award-winning office design company based in London.
Some of its more traditional clients shifted to coworking environments when their leases expired during the coronavirus lockdown, said the firm’s creative director, Dugan.
The appetite for community-led spaces is increasing.
Dugan described how, by moving to coworking, traditional tenants have “given up their identity a little bit and embraced communities more.”
Instead of focusing on branding spaces appropriately, the priority has shifted to creating hospitable work environments that contain a diverse range of work settings.
Stokes, co-founder of Co-Space, also noticed how “community” has emerged as a key tenant demand. People are eager to find out who else occupies their building which is why Co-Space actively encourages interaction through their workspace design.
“Nobody wants to come into an office and walk down the corridor and not know who the other businesses are,” he added.
2. We must accommodate different work activities
“There’s a huge push towards having a diversity of settings: making sure there are spaces for Zoom, meetings and focused work,” explained Köerting, TOG’s Head of Design.
“People want to come to the office and make sure whatever mood they’re in or whatever they’ve got planned for the day, they have the right space to support that.
“And collaborative spaces of course, because when we’re coming back to the office we’re really coming back so that we can be with our colleagues.”
3. Operators should throw away the design rule book
Some of the more established coworking operators have a tendency to adhere to a set of design rules they established two or three years ago.
This approach can restrict creativity, says Dugan. Younger companies, on the other hand, are often set up to be more open minded to new approaches.
Young or old, the panellists agreed that it’s important for workspace designers and operators to work in tandem. There are things operators may have more expertise in, such as data about occupier needs and trends. Designers can bring creativity to the table.