Clerkenwell Design Week 2017: Are Flexible Workspaces Becoming the Norm?

An audience sits in front of a panel of speakers discussing the future of workspace at Clerkenwell Design Week 2017.

Clerkenwell Design Week is always one of my favourite design exhibitions of the year. With Clerkenwell home to more creative businesses than anywhere else, it’s the best place to discover what’s shaping innovative design, and I always leave with fresh ideas to bring to Forster Inc.

This year, I was lucky enough to attend a few interesting talks at Clerkenwell Design Week. While they were all great, one that really got me thinking was How We Work Now: Are Flexible Workspaces Becoming the Norm?

At Forster Inc, we talk a lot about workspaces. From takeaway design tips to how to avoid big mistakes in your office, we are always considering how best to design spaces for an ever evolving workplace.

Speakers Nick Hartwright, Luke Pearson and Katrina Larkin all come from unique backgrounds and brought a different perspective to this topic. However, there were three key points that really stood out as shaping the future of workspaces:

1.     Integration.

Technology allows us to have freedom in our spaces and our lives, a flexibility that is key to the future of office spaces. Successful office designs need to not just integrate technology into the office but spaces that fit a wide range of people and roles.

2.     Affordability.

It’s no longer just the Googles and top businesses that need creative, adaptable workspaces. All businesses need to respond to a growing need for flexibility and technology, making it affordable for everyone.

3.     Wellbeing.

We’ve known for a while that wellbeing strategies are crucial for employee productivity and retention. All three experts agreed this is shaping the future of workspaces. Gyms and bedrooms could be replacing stuffy meeting rooms and traditional breakout spaces. Office culture is becoming increasingly people-focused, and designs need to reflect this shift.

We were all left with the question: are flexible workspaces becoming the norm? The answer is: yes. It’s such an exciting time to be creating spaces in which to work. Technology has enabled us to free ourselves of the conventional office environment and encourages us to be more sociable. And it’s up to us designers to meet this need.