Supporting the new world order of knowledge-based workers

Rebecca Daff, National Studio Leader peckvonhartel

Now as organisations return to the workplace, many have new experiences and perspectives on the ‘sense of place’ the workplace provides. Rebecca Daff, National Studio Leader at peckvonhartel, shares how the workplace provides depth, focus and a sense of community for people to do their best work.

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“What has been proven beyond doubt in the last 6 months is that the workplace exists as more than just a place to be productive, it’s creating a motivation for our clients who are more compelled and driven to create a place of significance for their teams. For many this new perspective has driven home the value of good design. It’s the in-between spaces – the places of unintentional connection, they now know will be more important than ever.”

Having designed some of Australia’s most innovative workplace and retail environments, Studio Leader Rebecca Daff is no stranger to creating tangible business outcomes through design. Her central focus has been to use design to create distinctive environments, prioritising community and connectivity.

A shift for connectivity in the workplace

Now with a forced shift to the working-from-home environment and new perspectives developing around the significance of the workplace, what will change in our approach to good design?

Our workplaces are part of the modern economy – I don’t think that we will see a pendulum shift from going from the workplace to everybody working from home at the end of this pandemic, but what will come forward is a number of nuanced models distinctive to each workplace. What we need to be prepared to do is to create experiences and environments that support these new models”.

Rebecca knows that for most businesses a ‘formulaic’ approach to the workplace environment won’t build on the lessons learnt over the last few months. “There will be a greater focus on seamless connectivity and integration of digital experiences”, for example, “Our technology set up from home to the office will have a direct impact on how we create a distinctive experience for our clients. When we arrive at work we want to be able to connect to the community so the in-between spaces – the places we work together – will be more important than ever”.

Zoom, Teams or Skype meetings create a new sense of parity with participants able to participate with an equitable screen. She muses that “with technology being immediate and easy we won’t go back to meetings like they used to be. In fact, perhaps meeting rooms are a thing of the past.”

The shift in how we connect in and out of the workplace is already becoming apparent in our workplace design projects.

We are seeing an even greater shift towards the social and interactive importance in the workplace and the spaces supporting focused collaborations. Notably we have recently designed a large commercial footprint into a flexible, agile project space focused on creative outcomes. It is a model that we have seen before, where working floors have been rethought into more agile workspaces. The shift is that now these spaces are being afforded to greater work communities at an entirely internal level”.

However, while working remotely and setting up a forced distance has seen some thriving, it has left much of the younger generation workforce missing ‘atmospheric learning’ through observations and overheard conversations.

What I think has emerged from this new and abrupt model of working is how the workplace provides a place to connect, create and innovate. It is now a golden hour for creating environments that support the more innovative workstyles required to support the future ‘new world order’ of knowledge-based workers and our workspaces need to support this profound reason for coming together”.