Chair: Katrina Kostic Samen
Head of workplace strategy and design, KKS Savills
The expert panel on work focused specifically on future office space in London, looking at issues from space standards to health and wellbeing, supply and demand, commuting and the future of office locations and typologies. The panel split into subgroups to debate specific topics determined at the first meeting.
Occupier trends: Occupier’s concerns and needs? Key concerns are around staff health and wellbeing, including choice and flexibility, travel behaviours, collaboration and sociability, and workplace experience. Brand embodiment and safeguarding culture is another central concern.
Workplace design transformation: What will be the intermediate and long-term changes to the workplace? Hyper-flexibility and variety of experiences will be central, and we can learn from the retail/hospitality sector. Diversity and inclusion will be key to ensure a human-centred approach to the workplace, with mental health at the top of the agenda.
Base building design impact: What will be the impact, post-COVID, on base building specification and design? Will there be greater engagement between occupier and landlords? What are the intermediate and long-term changes that will create an ecology of the workplace with impacts on public realm, leisure and culture, well-being, climate change and investor sentiment? ESG will have increasing importance to the value of an asset.
Each sub-group presented their team’s findings in October 2020 and helped inform the NLA research report WRK/LDN: Office Revolution, launched in May 2021. As part of this research, NLA conducted a survey to understand the changing demands on the workplace, and in April we analysed the results. The survey covered a wide range of topics from activities best served in the office to green travel initiatives. The panel agreed that this period should be a significant driver for innovation and creativity, that designers will be asked tough questions and clients will want everything, and designers will be working harder to deliver the client’s wish list.
Moving to the next cycle, we will focus on asking ‘what has changed?’, as well as monitoring industry trends:
• Will occupiers taking less space become a reality?
• How will the tenant, landlord and community relationships
evolve and what will be the effect on the high street?
• ESG: how will the environmental and social agenda evolve
and what changes to governance?
• Psychological: workplace/workforce and behavioural
change — what have we learned?
• Office specifications: how will the way we design offices and