Well-designed workplaces can make people more productive and happier in their work, helping them to achieve their full potential. They do that by encouraging creativity and collaboration, and inspiring people to innovate and find new approaches to problems. And they make people want to come into work because it’s an environment that enables them to be their best selves.
Attracting talent is particularly important right now, with employment at a record high and the Office of National Statistics reporting an unprecedented 1.3 million job vacancies. New recruits increasingly want added value in their working lives. So how can workplaces adapt?
Connecting people with places
People are seeking out wellbeing and lifestyle amenities in workspaces – for instance yoga studios, gyms, cycle stores, coffee shops and physiotherapy clinics. This supports their modern blended lifestyles, so they can combine work with a workout, saving on time and travel.
Leafy outside spaces and rooftop terraces where colleagues and communities can come together are also increasingly sought after. Bruntwood Works' Pioneer project incorporates all these elements, centering its workspaces on six key pillars: biophilia, art, sustainability, wellness, amenity and technology.
For instance its Bloc building in Manchester uses technology to monitor and optimise air quality, and has a state-of-the-art wellness suite, a sleep pod, cinema, events spaces and a cascading garden in the foyer.
Crucially, businesses of all sizes – from start-ups and SMEs through to large-scale organisations and government departments – are moving away from using the workspace as a static space. Forward-thinking workspaces encourage a flow of ideas, which is why developers are looking to create clusters of connected communities to support knowledge sharing and drive innovation.
Platforms that bridge online and real-world interaction, and new ways of forming connections, will be a vital feature of the future of work. Bruntwood is making it easy for people to connect with each other with initiatives like Spark, a programme of webinars, one-to-one advice sessions and practical workshops. And a Bruntwood app is launching soon, where people will be able to communicate on a customer forum, book meeting rooms, RSVP to events and order food.
A welcoming workplace
Businesses benefit from diversity so it’s important that workspaces are as accessible as possible. Think about the issues faced by neurodiverse people and those with different cognitive needs – can you incorporate areas where the sound and lighting is designed inclusively?
But bear in mind that different businesses need different things. For example, one of the trends that emerged from the pandemic is that footfall in city centres is typically quieter on Mondays and Fridays, but Tuesdays to Thursdays easily match, if not surpass, pre-pandemic levels. So workplaces should think about whether they have the capacity to accommodate the increased demand for meetings, events, workouts and more on these days.
Sustainable and inspirational
Beyond solving practical challenges, businesses are looking to create a greater sense of purpose and fulfilment among employees. Bruntwood’s Spark community regularly rallies its members to volunteer with organisations that have a positive social and environmental impact.
And that’s reflected in Bruntwood Works' plans for Ev0, a new six-storey timber-framed office building at Didsbury Technology Park, which will be one of the most sustainable workspaces in the UK subject to planning approval, with 94% of the energy required renewably generated on-site. This could act as a blueprint for zero-carbon workspaces of the future.
It’s vital to create workplaces that fire the imagination, get people talking and create communities. After all, by listening to each other and working together, we can achieve so much more.
Bruntwood Works, part of the Bruntwood Group, is one of the UK’s leading property providers, with workspaces across Manchester, Cheshire, Leeds, Liverpool and Birmingham. It blends work and lifestyle to create spaces that encourage interaction and create communities.