Globally employers continue to wrestle with the problem of talent acquisition and retention. The phrase “digital nomad”, describing a workforce who operate remotely without a fixed office base, has been around for a number of years now and whilst it initially emerged as a micro trend, it looks set to stay. In order to create desirable workplaces and encourage both current and future employees back into the office, we consider why employers and designers must take learnings from this nomadic movement.
Worldwide, the millennial generation continue to enforce change and create new rules which employers are struggling to understand; 80% of key employee decision makers remain from older generations. Conversely Millennials are now also influencing what their older colleagues want from their employment, which further compounds the problem. Many employers find themselves with more generations in their teams than ever before and are challenged to understand how to balance wellbeing, motivation and consistent performance in this growing workplace diversity.
Can you believe it’s already been a week since 2019’s Clerkenwell Design Week kicked off? The event, which was celebrating its 10th birthday, seems to get bigger and bigger every year! It was our busiest year yet, and we were delighted to see so many of you in our Great Sutton Street showroom. Now that we’ve all had time to relax over the bank holiday weekend, let’s look back at some of the week’s key take-aways…
In January this year, Connection board director, Annabelle Hill, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and helped raise over £30,000 for charity. This is her story of the challenge.
There is a lot of talk about Kilimanjaro: The Return, where celebrities were raising money for Comic Relief. Having just completed this myself, I can tell you, it is hard.
In September 2017, whilst at a fundraising lunch for Variety, the children's charity, I was invited to join 3 other girls to trek Kilimanjaro to raise more money for them. Variety is close to our family heart, as we have an autistic child, Nathan, aged 16, whose school, Castle Hill, in Huddersfield, benefit from two of their Sunshine coaches. Without these, there would not be the trips out into the community which immensely help the quality of life of the children at this special needs school.
Our group of 4 became 9 and together we are proud to have raised over £30,000 for charity. We set off as part of a group of 27 with two tour leaders from Action Challenge, and a GP. On day one, our group was hit with a diarrhoea and vomiting bug, on day two, altitude sickness kicked in for some and by day three for most. No matter how fit you are, altitude sickness is really not pleasant.
We were told repeatedly by our team leader, Collette, how awful summit night is...she was so right. We set off at 4,800m, I was wearing 8 layers on my top half, 4 pairs of gloves and feeling like a sumo wrestler. For me, it became more a mental battle than a physical one, I knew I was having delirious thoughts due to the lack of oxygen and honestly, if someone said I could get cheat my way to the top at that point, I was on that bus. What kept me going was knowing the sun would rise and after the freezing conditions, it was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Reaching Stella Point at 5756m and be told we still had another hour to walk to get to Uhuru Peak at 5895m felt like cruelty. It took our group 9 hours to climb one mile upwards and some did not make it to the top.
But it was so worth it ... it's one of the hardest, most amazing things to do and you really do feel on top of the world. Despite all the not so nice things (toilet dignity you completely lose on day 1), would I do it again? Absolutely.
Running as part of Stockholm Design Week, the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair is now in its 68th year. The world’s leading event for Scandinavian design features the latest innovations in design for both commercial and residential interiors. On show are a variety of new products, materials, trends and ideas. The fair now spreads over four huge halls, so there is a lot to digest. Here we have picked our five key themes that we saw throughout the stands…
“Workplaces need both dynamism and calm for free thinking, so the evolution of Hygge with a rocker furthers the range, in the hope that it will add some tranquillity and free thinking space in the modern workplace.” David Fox, designer of the Hygge range.
Recognising the latest workplace ‘resimercial’ trend for more laid-back office environments which draw inspiration from domestic settings, David Fox developed the distinctive Hygge family of chairs. The elegant contours of the oak veneer back envelop the user, creating an inviting space to retreat to in the midst of a busy office. Using high quality materials, solid oak frame and oak veneer back with a beautiful natural grain, the Hygge family are statement pieces that add style to any contemporary workplace.
David has developed this concept further by designing the rocker base version, a beautiful addition to the Hygge range. Striking, comfortable and providing a degree of visual and acoustic privacy, Hygge Rocking is bound to be a future classic.
Our latest RIBA accredited CPD “Learning is a Social Process” seminar is now available.
Collaborating with leading Learning Space consultant, James Rutherford, we explore pedagogically-informed learning spaces, aiming to enhance the experience and output of students, whilst balancing the needs of space, facilities and technology all within the perimeters of teaching environments.
We discuss how and why we believe learning is a social process, addressing the relationship between learning styles in education and how we see this correlate to create effective informal learning through interior and space design.
We look at understanding current and future students’ learning needs and how forthcoming design trends and technology are helping to influence these environments.
Finally, we’ll show some design trends for interiors that are emerging and consider their translation and psychological impact in education design, demonstrating how through smart furniture design and careful choice of material and colours can affect and improve learning and teaching performance.
You can find out more about this CPD or our other Connection CPDs by clicking here or by contacting us to arrange a seminar for you, your colleagues or workplace.
Recent research indicates that open-plan offices can decrease employee productivity, health and happiness. Ambient noise and other distractions present in open office environments have been shown to reduce productivity.
A recent study by Harvard Business School suggests that open-plan offices actually lead to a 72% drop in face-to-face interaction between employees, with more email use and less productivity. According to another piece of research, conducted by Ipsos and Steelcase’s WorkSpace Futures team, office workers are losing a total of 86 minutes every day to distractions.
So what can we do?
By using good, thoughtful design, the majority of open offices can be adapted to create a flexible, attractive and more productive environment without needing a complete redesign:
1. Create comfortable and versatile breakout spaces, with sofas and coffee tables, for checking emails, taking a break and socialising
2. Encourage employees to leave their desks by providing a variety of areas for different tasks and interactions, designing your space to encourage ‘collisions’ between colleagues
3. Provide private or partially private spaces for meetings away from the desks, such as pods or prefabricated ‘rooms’ within the space
4. Use screens and high-backed furniture such as booths, to provide spaces with visual and acoustic privacy for focused work, meetings and phone calls workers may not wish to share with the whole office
5. Collaboration tables allow co-workers to spread their work out, move around, work together and be creative
These simple inclusions will go a long way to ensuring a productive and happy workplace, whilst retaining and building on the open-plan ethos of communication and collaboration.
For most businesses, getting the most from their working environments while increasing productivity and creating a balanced working environment – and enriching the employee experience - can be a challenge. However, help is on hand. With innovative design and clever use of technology Connection can demonstrate how to create smart space solutions that will help turn underperforming areas into “space that works”.