Workplace Architecture & Design Supplement 2018 – Editor’s Comment

The design of workplaces has been going through something of a renaissance over the past few years. Alongside the work instinctively done by architects and interior designers to create healthier, more productive settings for us to look at screens but also gather and meet effectively at work, there have also been an array of studies on the benefits of better design.

Backed by such evidence, emergence of the WELL Standard has been a key force in this move to make offices places which actually support rather than undermine wellness. Now working in close partnership with BREEAM, WELL is helping design teams and their clients to promote and drive the creation of better workplaces across the world.

Of course offering good air quality, ample natural light, and the right acoustics, as well as space to congregate, socialise and have meetings are not the only goals for modern workplaces. In order for clients to attract the right staff in increasingly competitive marketplaces, they want to make these places attractive and even ‘cool,’ reinforcing employees’ perceptions of the company and making them somewhere they want to spend a significant portion of their time.

Paradoxically, although we spend more and more of our time working flexibly, including increased home working, and we are not always rooted to the same desk and chair, there is more and more design focus placed on looking holistically at the office as the locus of that activity. Employers are using workplace design to express their values more fundamentally, and our project case studies in this special supplement contain some good examples.

Staff are also putting in more work than ever before, as companies tighten their belts but also work smarter across a wider range of platforms including exponentially increasing online offerings, so the power of environments to minimise stress for staff needs to be at the top of the agenda. With published studies showing how much flaws in design can affect staff wellbeing, and conversely how good design benefits productivity, there is a compelling need for clients to invest in good design.

James Parker