Office design takes on a greater dimension in the new reality of work
The redesign of workspaces, but also other reception and contractual environments with a view to digitization and work flexibility, has become the best asset for companies, hotels and commercial establishments to attract employees again. and to customers in person, surpassing the facilities that technology offers for working or purchasing remotely.
This is one of the conclusions of the round table organized by Women in Real Estate Spain (WIRES) with the collaboration of Women in Office Design (WOD) in which they participated, Leyre Octavio Toledo, Executive Director of Savills Aguirre Newman; Sophie Von Schnburg, director of the Culdesac Experience studio; Gema Alfaro, partner of Estudio Alfaro-Manrique Atelier, and Daniel Jurez, CEO of Cador, Mexico.
At first, the health crisis and security requirements emptied collective spaces and, subsequently, the process of adapting to the new normalcy accelerated certain changes that were already taking place in the concept of work environments in which companies they have started to introduce concepts such as flexibility, reconciliation, digitization or sustainability in their dynamics and, therefore, in the design of their spaces.
Commercial establishments and hotels had also started to rely on mixed uses to adapt to a constantly changing society and generate user experiences that made customer visits memorable.
Now, the explosion of digitization and the need to bring employees back to offices and customers to hotels, shops and restaurants have made design the decisive factor in creating attractive spaces while ensuring safety and convenience. the well-being of people by placing them at the center of any strategy.
The experts participating in the round table, moderated by Soledat Berbegal, director of Actiu and director of brand reputation, and presented by Patrizia Laplana, founding partner and member of events at WIRES, and Gracia Cardona, co-founder of WOD , agreed that the future of workspaces depends on flexibility, the promotion of digitization and face-to-face interaction and a mix of uses. In this sense, Soledat Berbegal, underlined the role of design in this transformation: “design is the tool with which we will be able to create safe, profitable and emotional scenarios that allow people to feel safe and have a complete well-being in their life. day by day “.
Hybrid spaces and multiplicity of uses
In the case of offices, the goal must go, according to Leyre Octavio, through spaces that work with this hybrid content, which the company believes that the space that has been generated is the most productive and the experience the most. rewarding. “This is where design has to play a key role,” he explains. The months of telecommuting have shown that people prefer a flexible system with the ability to work from home and also with office hours with their colleagues.
Daniel Jurez, CEO of Cador, underlined in this sense how the months of confinement and forced remote work have made them go back to basics. “We all have a designer inside. Children from an early age organize their world in search of functionality and better decision making. This is what we need to do when we design solutions for businesses, ”he noted.
Once the habit of going to the office every day out of obligation is broken, these need to be redesigned so that they are the best possible environment for workers, for their creativity, productivity and good. -be. A space in which they feel valued and that they are part of a project that has them. In short, a space capable of transmitting brand values and loyalty to employees.
This same strategy is occurring in contract spaces where transformation will aim to create user experiences that can compete with the ease and convenience of online shopping. Commercial spaces will imply a much wider offer aimed at attracting entire families with different interests and ages. Thus, the design serves to combine spaces for leisure, socialization, catering, culture, even training or work in the same space.
In this sense, Sophie Von Schnburg, of Culdesac Experience, stresses that the key to success will be to combine technology and the data collection it facilitates with humane processing and attention to detail: “In retail, you you won’t need so much quantity, but a lot of quality. The solution to bringing customers back to the physical store is to put the person at the center and personalize their experience ”.
The mix of uses will also be the key to the future design of reception environments and even city planning. Co-living is the trend that is already marking the readjustment of these spaces: hotels which convert their common spaces into coworking rooms with work meeting rooms or, even, which experiment with office rooms, transforming rooms into offices of 8 at 20 hours.
This transformation also allows international tourists to combine leisure and work during their stays, extending the days of travel by taking advantage of the new working flexibility that has become established around the world. And not only that, but the hotels have also widened their offer, as Gema Alfaro explains, to adapt to a local client, inhabitants of their own city looking for a leisure offer without having to travel. .
In the residential and urban environment, the trend is, on the one hand, to allow spaces in the house that allow us to enjoy the stay more and also to be productive, creative and efficient in our home offices. The provision of elements such as balconies and terraces that allow us to enjoy the outdoors without leaving the house contributes in a fundamental way. Terraces must stop being a luxury in the houses and become something essential.
Urbanizations and public spaces that allow the community to interact and accommodate different uses are another trend that the current crisis has accelerated. Places where workers, students and retirees coexist with different concerns and needs, but who can share space generating a strong and cohesive community.
Because community building, flexibility in its broadest sense and sustainability understood not only as energy efficiency but also as a commitment to a simpler life that goes back to the roots are three of the social changes that the experts of the roundtable organized by WIRES and WOD stood out as the most important of this new era. Changes and trends in which design acquires a fundamental role as a tool for adaptability.