What role will the office play post-pandemic?

17 August, 2021
by: Cripps Pemberton Greenish

As part of our hybrid working campaign, we’re speaking to industry leaders from a variety of sectors to find out how their working styles have adapted during the pandemic. In this article we speak to Dthree Studio, office design specialists, about the changes they have seen to office design since the pandemic. 

The pandemic has changed the face of the office as we know it and forced businesses to rethink their workplace requirements and the safe environments they now need to be.

At Dthree we know that people are a business’ greatest asset, and as a result, their primary concern. The pandemic has highlighted this and accelerated it to the forefront of office design. After months of working from our sofas, kitchen tables and spare rooms, businesses have been given the unique opportunity to delve deeper into what really works for their employees and more importantly, what doesn’t.

The office itself is not a thing of the past, but the office that does not prioritise and support wellbeing, collaboration and flexibility, is. Workspaces are no longer just a place of work, they are now a social destination which will play a crucial role in bringing people and businesses back together.

Following the success of working from home, many businesses have introduced flexible-working programmes across their workforce. The function of the office will now need to support both part-time and full-time workers, and essentially shift from a place employees have to be, to a place employees want to be. This hybrid model will ensure workplaces provide employees with a variety of areas to support their different working needs, whist prioritising mental health and encouraging togetherness and collaboration.

 

What does the hybrid workplace look like?

The hybrid workplace is all about the people, with people-centric design playing a significant role to ensure the space represents and supports a true understanding of the different working styles and personalities within the business. It is about providing your employees with a variety of spaces that support their personal and professional needs, both as individuals and a collective. With employees mental health and work-life balance at an all-time low, offices will need to work harder than ever before to ensure they prioritise these. Creativity, productivity, engagement and happiness levels, all begin with positive mental health. So for businesses to get the best out of their employees, they need to create a ‘hub’ that provides a sense of belonging and community for all who use it.

After a year of uncertainty, the hybrid workplace must be flexible and allow for change.  Designers are facing some of their biggest challenges to date to find future proofing solutions so that spaces can adapt to the unknown. Future proofing and flexibility is not just about furniture and wall dividers, it’s about the building infrastructure, the mechanical and lighting systems, as well as the materials and aesthetic elements installed.

 

How has Dthree Studio helped businesses rethink their workplaces to bring people back together?

Throughout the pandemic, Dthree Studio has helped many businesses navigate through the immediate uncertainty and contributed to their thinking regarding the evolving purpose of the office, to find a solution that best meets their employee’s needs.

Bumble is a great example of a people-focused workplace and although the space was designed pre-pandemic, there’s a strong argument to suggest they were ahead of most when it comes to creating a collaborative and flexible hub. The space itself was designed primarily around their people, ensuring every individual felt valued and cared for when using it.  Wellbeing was heavily considered throughout the design, with specific attention in the brief paid to enhancing wellness through key features. For example, we increased the number of sky lights to provide more natural light throughout the space, we also increased the size of the roof terrace that wraps around The Loft to encourage plenty of down-time outside for fresh air, as well as included additional access points, to enhance the air flow throughout the building. In the kitchen we provided natural extraction using charcoal filters, which when replaced have a lower impact on the environment. There was also emphasis on planting and biophilia within the design to connect people with nature, due to the many mental health and wellbeing benefits it has.

 

Cleanliness and reducing contact points was also key to the project. We specified products throughout the space which were not only durable for high-level and frequency of cleaning but also held inherent antimicrobial properties.  These exist within the flooring, furniture, joinery, and can also be found through the stainless steel and powder coated finishes on all door handles and kitchen surfaces. 

Another key consideration, which is actually now a requirement following the pandemic, was the flow of people by providing multiple access points to and from busy areas, which enabled them to have a one way system in place at peak meal times and encourage people to transition back to the main workplace quickly and safely.

 

Who are Dthree Studio?

Our Mission is to help businesses achieve their goals by creating inspiring and innovative working environments for them to thrive in.

Our Promise is to improve your employee productivity, your company culture and your business performance.

Our Success is reflected in the global and local brands we have helped grow within the work spaces we have created for them.