How can office design change the way we work?
- 5 Min Read
Office design and layout can have a huge impact on our working day. We look specifically at how Bennett Hay worked with Landsec to deliver a culture that worked for the whole organisation.
In the fast-paced world of modern business, designing a future proof office is no easy feat. Thinking only about the next 12 months simply won’t do and organisations need to be aware that as times change, so will your employee needs. Long gone are the days of a one-track method, now managers need to take a more holistic approach to employee welfare and engagement and understand the huge benefits the right office space brings to a business. Whether it’s health and wellbeing, increased productivity or attracting and retaining talented people, the space you work in has a huge impact. Our work with Landsec sheds some light on the strategic approach needed to manage the workplaces of the future.
Landsec, the largest commercial property company in the UK, outlined their vision to be the best in the eyes of its customers, communities, partners and employees. From there we devised a strategy which had the initial vision at the very core of all its components. When delivering its new head office, this meant recognising and understanding each of these stakeholders, and looking after their individual requirements.
Landsec understands that a healthy employee is a happy employee and therefore placed wellbeing at the fore of the plan. We began working on Landsec’s new head office 12 months before the launch, to shape the wellbeing solutions and employee experience around the foundations.
Good wellbeing starts with the right fuel for your body and mind. As such, we work closely with Landsec to follow the WELL Building Standard™ framework on nourishment, a best practice body designed to promote health and wellness in buildings and communities everywhere. This included ensuring no more than 30 grams of sugar per serving in the items served as breakfast, snacks or stocked in the vending machine as well as increasing availability of healthy foods and reducing marketing and availability of unhealthy foods.
At the foundation of our catering offering is the ‘Restore’ nutritional programme designed to look after employee wellbeing and help bodies deal with the impact of city dwelling. We believe the pressures of commuting, queuing, PC working, pollution and lack of daylight results in increased toxin build up in the body that often leads to stress, fatigue and lack of concentration. As such, our menu range is designed to provide the body with additional vitamins and minerals that break down toxins to give increased energy and wellbeing.
We also run a communications programme that provides recommended eating and drinking habits during the day as well as showing all the nutritional data of each food and drink item and offering all snacks in bite size portions so that employees can make informed choices.
Just as important as physical wellbeing is mental wellbeing. Following employee feedback, Landsec designed spaces that were set up to ensure active working, promoting movement around the office. Allocated desk staff are provided with sit/stand desks and the provision of a treadmill desk provides the ability to walk and work without having to leave the office.
Landsec wanted their employees to see the site as a destination. Being located in central London, they understood the woes of commuting. The space therefore needed to reflect tranquillity, with lots of natural light and cooling air. Changing rooms were designed specifically for those who have commuted, with all amenities thought of; from straighteners, hair dryers and free towels, to lockers and state of the art showers. Non-denominational contemplation rooms were also made available for relaxation, meditation and prayer and a rest room provided for employees who feel unwell or have arrived from overnight travelling.
No modern office can survive without a strong technology infrastructure and as such, the team implemented a number of tech services designed to connect the office and allow employees to manage the facilities digitally. The key is to ensure technology is helping human beings rather than being just for show. For example, Landsec employees use a touch-screen meeting room booking system, which our team then aligns their hospitality services to. Using this connected technology, Bennett Hay staff are made aware of all meetings and can proactively provide beverages and refreshments to be ready before a meeting commences. As well as this meeting room booking technology, Landsec also made use of their digital booking tools for pre-ordering breakfast and lunch and other office services.
Technology also plays an important role in how employees use the space. New docking stations, hub screens and network connectivity for example, means that people can work from anywhere in the building comfortably.
Through the implementation of future forward space design, Landsec enabled total agility among employees and guests allowing them to work on one floor, giving the site a real ‘one company’ feel and working openly, transparently and collaboratively.
The feeling of not being boxed in and of open space runs throughout the workplace. Circulation routes are wide and bright with clear sight lines, every available aspect maximises access to natural daylight, and neighbourhoods are both collective and individual. The views onto the street aims to make employees feel part of the whole hustle and bustle of the environment, without the noise or weather conditions.
LED lighting was carefully selected to enhance performance and reduce energy demands. Acoustic rafts (sound absorbing) and circadian lighting were designed to further enhance wellbeing and productivity.
Our team was then an extension of this initial process, working to combine the physical space with finishing touches and service training to make the actual experience great for employees.
We had considerable input, carefully selecting all of the light equipment and sourcing a local carpenter for bespoke items. Every detail was thought through from a user perspective as well as supporting the well engrained sustainability principles of the company and its staff.
By Anthony Bennett, Co-owner of Bennett Hay