Future workplaces: 2022 here we come!

30 June 2022

STACK Managing Director David Gunn on what we need to be thinking about when designing and building future workplaces.

As we look forward to 2022 it is a time to reflect…

There has been a lot of talk about a shift in personal priorities because of the Covid pandemic. They’re even calling it the Great Resignation. Whatever it is and whether it is happening here is another discussion, but generally people have spent a lot of time over the last two years reflecting on what matters to them.

As we look past Covid, it is also a time for businesses to reflect on lessons learned, how these can be applied and what this means for our future workplaces.

There are some big questions as we enter 2022:

  • What is the office of the future?
  • What is the city of the future?
  • Where does our business sit?
  • Who are we? 
  • Who am I…?

Seriously though, when you’re looking to design and build workplaces, there are several fundamental questions that need to be asked. We can break these down into three broad categories:

  • The building
  • How you work as an organisation
  • Workplace design

Which building?

The easiest approach is to ask: Do we want to be in this building? What does it offer? 

You need to consider:

  • Location and access to services like cafes / convenience stores
  • Access to transport 
  • End of trip 
  • Common facilities
  • Building services such as air conditioning
  • Sustainability incl. power for electric vehicles 

These are all considerations outside your businesses control. But you can pretty much compare the attributes of one building to another building quite easily.

How do we make the workplace work for us?

Where it starts to get interesting is when you are analysing spaces inside buildings. At this point, you need to start asking questions about how your business will use the space because the old metrics are no longer relevant:

  • How much space do we really need?
  • How do our people work? (Randomly in the office vs. routinely in the office)
  • What role does technology play?
  • And ultimately, how can we maximise our investment in this new workplace?

This is where you start to evaluate the pros and cons of each, looking at design opportunities, space planning, budget, and services. There are a lot of things to weigh up.

Fitout design?

Thankfully though when it comes to the fitout design… the fun begins! 

But there are three vital considerations in any space that you look at:

  • Air conditioning – is it up to it?
  • Lighting / Natural lighting – it is about people feeling healthy
  • Acoustics – you can’t work if you can’t concentrate!

These are what a good workplace is built around. They provide solid foundations to designing a workspace that connects your brand, your clients, and your people. This is where you can innovate while not being a slave to international trends… by creating something that uniquely reflects your business and how you work.

We have the ability in New Zealand to be nimble with our design thinking and lead the world in innovation. We do not need to follow what was done overseas yesterday.

2022 and onwards

The future has some unique challenges but also many opportunities. But we’re looking forward to working with our clients as we navigate them together. Bring on 2022!

David Gunn, Managing Director, STACK