Workspace Design Show

26 – 27 February 2025 | Business Design Centre, London

Insights on what’s happening now and will be happening in the future of our Workspace industry

We asked some of our speakers at the Workspace Design Talks to share their insights on what’s happening now and will be happening in the future of our Workspace industry.

May Fawzy, Founder, MF Design Studio & Director, BIID

What inspires you to push the boundaries in your line of work?

Design is about creating an environment and an experience. There are so many intertwining factors that help create that right environment for the users. On one hand there is the space which helps include the building shell, the sun/natural light and the architectural features. And on the other hand there is the human aspect of the space; the people and the culture. For me personally, to create the right environment I start with studying the people and the culture before I study the space. Understanding people’s behaviour is a key ingredient in creating the right environment for the users of any space. It always fascinates me how different we all are: our needs, our perception of beauty, how we measure a project’s success… the list goes on. This to me is the biggest inspiration that motivates me to push the boundaries to create a better environment every time.

How have clients been re-designing their workspaces to help encourage their employees back to the office?

Wellbeing is at the top of the list when it comes to attracting people back to the office. After spending weeks at home during tough and stressful times; people will look forward to go back to an environment that looks after health, safety and wellbeing. Creating a space that looks after people’s mind and body is crucial. With many of us working from our kitchen tables and hardly achieving our daily steps target, the office has to work harder to provide us with the tools we need to look after our bodies and minds. Ergonomics, height adjustable desks, day light, biophilia, and a social side to work are all very important factors to enable us to be more productive, creative, happy and most importantly stress free.

Dom Dugan, Creative Director, Oktra

How have clients been re-designing their workspaces to help encourage their employees back to the office? 
The first key thing that I feel we need to create is a more obvious distinction between traditional working spaces and focus work areas. As we increase the headcount in our offices again, we want to optimise how we are using different settings. I think that by enhancing social areas for interaction, we will improve collaboration and naturally rebuild the connection we had with our colleagues before we shifted to remote working. 
There’s also a real opportunity to improve wellness aspects throughout the whole building. We can use the gradual return as a bit of a reset and assess how we can improve wellbeing in our offices. Yes, we are talking about biophilia, natural light, water points but what else can we do? Offering simple things to support people like quiet spaces, back of house reflection areas or other designated spaces will make the office more welcoming and supportive.
What trends do you expect to see in office design in 2022?

We’re at a point where we are shaking up our teams’ routine and ways of working again after 18 months of settling into remote working. There will be considerations on an individual basis as well as on a team basis, that companies and leaders will need to listen to. We keep seeing this approach of the return to the office as ‘not one-size-fits-all’ and customising this experience is possible; it comes down to listening to our people. 

As with everything like this, there will be winners and losers in the way staff are reintroduced to the workplace, but I feel that the winners will be the ones that take these challenges on board and then take progressive action to provide solutions.

Stephen Guy, Chief Integration Officer & Chief of Staff, McCann World Group

What trends do you expect to see in office design in 2022?

We are highly unlikely to see a return to the pre-pandemic workplace. We must therefore move from seeing the office as containers for desks to destinations, where companies’ employees, partners & clients meet to collaborate, connect, and create in new ways when they are not successfully working from home.

This will require a significant and informed rethink, not only in design, but all elements of the lived workspace, enabling employers to provide meaningful, flexible, and sustainable environments their people will want to return to – when they need to.

Sustainability is a business priority for us all. We expect this to be a core focus from the workplace community, working collectively, and incorporating strategically for the long term. This should include enhancing wellbeing throughout all areas of design, build and occupation. All working towards the goal of achieving recognised accreditations at all levels.
Getting the balance right to ensure the physical space remains the heart of company culture and its development is crucial, so any major trends need to be informed by real and ongoing insights from companies and workplace users for long term success.

How have clients been re-designing their workspaces to help encourage their employees back to the office?

Each sector will differ, our own is focused on modes of work as opposed to days of week spent at fixed desks. This is informing our new hybrid working model and how we use our places of work.

We were fortunate that our new building was designed to encourage working better together, across agencies and distinct disciplines, with more emphasis on diverse collaboration spaces and work areas which replace the traditional meeting rooms.
Any pre-pandemic resistance to losing the traditional, personal space has mostly gone as we adapt and evolve with vibrant “neighbourhoods” where teams meet in their own areas for both collaboration and focused work alongside each other.   We have seen teams and departments planning their time together, they want different-sized spaces to support private and collaborative work, alongside areas that accommodate both physical and virtual interactions with working etiquettes in place to ensure inclusivity.