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Food for thought at the 2024 Future of the Workplace event

Food for thought at the 2024 Future of the Workplace event

East On Commercial Interiors recently sponsored the recent Future of the Workplace event at London’s King’s Place. This was an afternoon of in-depth discussion by the UK’s leading workspace specialists through expert panel discussions and data analysis.

Darryl Easton, Managing Director of East On Commercial Interiors, took part in the final panel session, “Office Obsolescence Equals Opportunity”  with a group of experts  discussing the challenges of futureproofing buildings that no longer appear fit for purpose and analysing the opportunities that these bring.

Key takeaways from the day were:

The need for human interaction in exceptional workspaces that give teams a genuine reason to come to the office. This should start with full analysis of the way desk space and breakout areas work from a practical point of view and reflect current working styles so that people aren’t simply attending the office to be seen to be present (and then spending a whole day on video calls).

The average home supports the average knowledge worker better than the average office. This theme resonated throughout the afternoon, meaning that providing an outstanding workplace becomes even more of a challenge. The point made by many speakers was that “new” ways of working pre-date the pandemic, with many workers previously spending part of the week at home in any case.

Sustainability challenges offer the opportunity for landlords and tenants to work together but the thorny issue still remains as to who pays for green upgrades, especially given the rise of flex workspaces.

The UK commercial market is faring better than its international counterparts in many cases, with vacancy levels in London being well below cities such as New York (8% vs  22%) and there are differing approaches to hybrid working conditions either side of the Atlantic, with US workers seeking to hold on to home working more determinedly in order to avoid traditionally punishing in-office working practices.

Read Darryl’s exclusive blog for the Future of the Workplace programme here.

Photography: Ed Telling