This is no longer a luxury. This is impacting commercial success. The bottom line.
That was the thrust of Chris Bowie-Hill’s keynote speech at our ‘Well Worth It?’ event, hosted by New London Architecture at The Building Centre in central London on 13th November 2018.
In tune with nature
To an audience of developers, funders, architects, planners and property advisers, Chris argued that an investment in the work environment is an investment in people. Chris guided the packed house through the senses and the environments that have an innate impact on how, as humans, we react and feel. Core to this is our positive association with nature, biophilia, which in a world of tightly sealed working spaces, devoid of access to nature and natural light, is impacting our productivity.
Engineering solutions in our hands
With references to what we can learn from Georgian architecture, the huge sales uptick achieved by US retailer, Target, when they let natural light into stores, and the outstanding contemporary design of the new UK Hydrographic Office headquarters, Chris illustrated that the engineering and architectural solutions are in our hands. So who needs convincing?
The millennial generation
Chris stated that the biggest challenge to the property community is that the millennial generation, who will rapidly become our business leaders, will not stand for sub-standard workspace.
A generation who are more influenced by their environment and sense of place than by salary, want workspaces that promote a sense of wellbeing, community and collaboration.
Investment in wellbeing is, as Chris concluded, an investment in your biggest asset, and your biggest cost-base: your people, and ultimately their productivity.
Space as a service
Speaking alongside Chris at our event was Caleb Parker, Founder and CEO of Bold.
Caleb is at the forefront of delivering ‘space as a service’, recognising the demand for flexibility to switch between creative, collaborative space, and quiet space. He claimed that the time has come to re-define traditional approaches to real estate based on what people want and expect from their workspace.
Caleb argued that the world of hospitality and the workspace are colliding because the office of the future will be customer service driven, where a consistent experience and a consistent brand matters to corporate occupiers.
What do people want from space?
We were delighted that Joanna Watchman, founder of Work in Mind, facilitated our event. Work in Mind is an online platform that brings together new thinking, ideas and research on healthy buildings and workplaces and their positive impact on our health and productivity.
Joanna took a wide range of questions from the floor, challenging Chris and Caleb to address issues that ranged from whether people still want their own oasis of space in the office as opposed to a flexible, hot-desking arrangement, to the role of landscape design in and around buildings.
And in keeping with one of our core themes, the importance of biophilia, guests were able to choose a pot plant to take away with them, tender and care for, connecting them with nature back at their desks!
Want to learn more?
We are delivering our ‘Well Worth It?’ opinion-piece in Cardiff, Manchester and Birmingham in the first four months of 2019, and we’re available to discuss the issues directly with individual organisations. To find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.