Workplaces today are mutating, being reconfigured to suit opportunities, collective dialogue and actions focused on the end user. Because human energy is at the heart of shared spaces, and the workplace is being thrown open to the city and is shared, we, paradoxically, are noting the need to refocus on individual wellbeing and the search for meaning. Content is being unshackled from its container and the workplace is being liberated from its archaic mould, hybridising into a social space.
A design approach enables us to think outside the container and its content. Its focus is to humanise spaces, infuse a building and its activities with meaning, rethinking how they are used and encouraging exchanges. Good design inspires intellect, action, and a sense of the human! In the future, perhaps, design will improve a space’s social quality by reinventing the amount of time we spend in our workplaces.
The new ways we work are both permeable and unexpected. We are increasing our pace and reordering our activities, slicing our tasks and workdays into collaborative, creative and personal time slots. We are now in the “co” era: co-living, co-working, co-creating, co-servicing, etc. Spaces are multi-activity centres, broadening the scope of opportunities and contacts. New working habits are being created, our company’s new clock is frenetic, beats out the rhythm, disconnecting and reconnecting individuals. Spaces have been dispersed but yet are hyper-connected. Our daily lives are ordered according to whether time is shared or personal.
Everything, everywhere, now! The age of “right now” requires us to be more responsive, without losing sight of what things mean and why we’re doing them. That said, the fits and starts of how we use our time make music of our workdays and our energy, putting at risk our ability to concentrate.
The design approach improves the ergonomics of how we use our space, first and foremost by thinking about the time required, thereby revealing the rationale and awareness of a workplace, and not just because we like to “do design”.
By opening up the workplace to create a daily living space, by being concerned and accountable for individuals’ wellbeing, design can create a sense of usefulness and humanity. By letting ideas and individuals flow, design can create a sense of creativity and innovation. Design is human when it places a value on the individual. It is social when it considers, and improves upon, shared well-being.
Today, the challenge of designing content and container is, first and foremost, that of contemplating design and creating value of living in a space, to encourage a desire to do the right thing and the desire to do this together!