Workspace Design Show

26 – 27 February 2025 | Business Design Centre, London

Insights from Steve Wright of GSK on Building Social Capital and Design Trends for 2024

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 Steve Wright, Director of Workplace Design and Change Management at GSK. This article explores Wright’s approach to these challenges, shedding light on how employers can adapt and thrive in the evolving landscape of workplace design and culture.

How can employers try to build social capital in the hybrid workplace?

With difficulty! Forced cultures are not easily accepted by staff if they feel this is a cynical ploy for the benefit of the organisation. Good leaders create real empathy and communicate values in a way that engages and unites a workforce behind a common set of values. Social capital arises from shared values, vision and commonality of goals. Hybrid work is experienced differently by those who are present and those who are remote. I’m not sure we can expect an equal experience and buy in unless this situation is levelled.

What design trends do you see for 2024 that will create workplaces that people want to be?

I don’t think we can expect the office to have gravitational pull on staff through design alone. We are as a society beyond the thinking that suggests ‘build it and they will come’. Location, convenience and integration with individual work/life balance views help in this regard. Ease of use, appropriate work-settings and facilities contribute to de-stressing peoples experience. The easier we make it to use the more people will see a workplace environment as a place they want to be. Good quality design is a benefit when deployed alongside many other aspects of creating a successful and popular workplace.