Workspace Design Show

26 – 27 February 2025 | Business Design Centre, London

Insights from Paula Rowntree of Lloyds Banking Group on Office Design and Employee Experience

The upcoming Workspace Design Show in London, scheduled for 27 – 28 February, will be packed with insights and innovations on workplace interiors. Among the many speakers scheduled to attend is Paula Rowntree, Head of Workplace Design at LLOYDS BANKING GROUP. In this article, we will delve into Rowntree’s approach to designing office spaces that not only meet the diverse needs of employees but also enhance their overall work experience, ensuring workplaces ‘bloom’ in these dynamic times.

How do you see offices providing focus spaces, spaces that allow for reduced distraction and high concentration?

For me, this is imperative as art of being an Inclusive Designer, our Office spaces need to cater for differing needs, the office can be a vibrant, engaging place for human interaction which lots of people thrive and crave; however if you are neurodivergent or simply need space to undertake complex work the need for a quieter more focused environment can be critical to both mental well-being but also productivity. To make this work effectively there needs to be an office etiquette and culture that is respectful of people using these spaces – a bit like the quiet coach on a train to make this work.

Our theme this year is ‘Bloom: exploring the thriving ecosystem of work life.’ How do you see offices ‘blooming’ in current times?

As humans we thrive on interaction and connection, Covid reminded us of this in no uncertain times but it also showed us that we don’t need to be in an office to be productive but we do need human interaction to provide us with mental stimulation and to feel part of something bigger. Office environments are changing and evolving to recognise this and provide space for making connections; networking; problem solving as well as work thus blooming from the grey soulless environments of the past where a desk and computer was the standard.

How can hotelification have a meaningful impact on the employee experience?

As we look to encourage colleagues to return to work we need to create environments that are at least as good as the home to make the travel/commute a worthwhile experience; thus investment in cafes; gym studios, experience ambassadors becomes a key driver for colelague satisfaction with the workplace – however it is still of vital importance to get the basics right; heat; light; tech that works; comfortable seating are at the core of the experience; however it’s the experiences they have in their daily life that can make the soul sing and make them want to come back again…and again….