Studio Cwtch – thoughts on the workplace

Mobius recently had the pleasure of working alongside leading interior architecture and design company, Studio Cwtch, to create Bristol’s newest coworking space, Gather Round. You can read more about this project here: https://www.mobiusworks.co.uk/creative-coworking/

Following the completion of this successful project we asked Studio Cwtch’s talented Director and Interior Architect Ruth Wainwright about her thoughts on the workplace, and we are delighted to publish this wonderful article as a guest blog: 

We all have a job at some point in our lives. Some for longer than others. Some are happier than others. Some LOVE going into work. Some do not. But what remains constant is that we do spend a lot of our time in the daylight hours out of the house, either in the office, on the road or walking down the street.

Hectic lives, more choice, and new technologies mean we need to and can pretty much work anywhere we want to, should our employers endorse this within the culture of the company we work for….and many are now ‘letting go’ of the tight grip they have traditionally held on their employees. This increasingly flexible and agile workforce means teams can be located well away from prime office space at times. Freelancers and SMEs are included in this also as start-up costs often necessitate working from home or from a café in the first few months whilst the company takes shape and builds.

With all of this in mind, the design of ‘workspace’ is rapidly evolving. It’s not about ‘crazy’ design solutions to attract and retain employees, it’s about what we actually need to be able to do our jobs to the best of our ability. It’s about workspace designers understanding the culture of that particular company or brand which informs the space planning strategy and flow, which then allows for connection, collaboration and facilitation of teamwork in the right places and amongst the right people. But it’s also about plain old simple comfort. We want to be happy where we work. If the company for which we work, or the space which we inhabit to do our job isn’t providing the right environment for us to thrive, then no number of slides or ping-pong tables will cut the mustard.

 

 

 

We are connected to each other but that doesn’t mean we are always physically together. It seems our need to ‘gather’ as humans is something that we haven’t lost since we first roamed this earth, it’s just been diluted. Our tribal instincts lurk deep within us; we lost our way, branching out individually and losing our heads in new tech possibilities, but we are now clamouring to be reconnected back with each other in whatever way possible. Co-workspaces and agile working practices / activity based working solutions within companies are allowing this to happen, the top bods in business are recognising the need and allowing this to happen in the culture of their businesses, and individually we are all starting to really benefit.

The monumental rise of co-working spaces in the last five years is no surprise really, considering. It is explained very simply in this link: https://gcuc.co/why-coworking/

What does the ideal design solution look like though?

Well, it’s different for everyone. For the first time we have four generations working alongside each other and understandably we all have different wants and needs.

To address this, and to cite one example, office furniture manufacturers have really listened and are now producing an incredible amount of well-designed, need-led products that enable people to work in the ways that enable them to thrive in their job and therefore, most importantly, be happier. Back in the day, when I as a designer first started looking into ABW (Activity Based Working) for a specific project, one of the only companies producing furniture that enabled us to design these ‘3rd spaces’ and other activity-based solutions was Haworth: https://www.haworth.com/eu/. They created single pods for individual focused working, sit-stand desks for those with the need to stand for certain periods of time (incidentally something we all should be doing), breakout sofas with integrated data and charging points (crazy!!) and collaboration tables with technology to enable audio visual connection.

Now that pretty much everyone is onboard with the idea of designing products to enable collaboration & different working needs, the choice is immense – awesome. So, what we need to focus on as a result is what is actually required for each individual company, be it a co-workspace, a global HQ or an SME start-up who have moved out of the loft into a studio space just for them.

Here are just a few examples of good, coworking and ABW furniture solutions:

For quiet, focused time-out – Boss Design: https://www.bossdesign.com/product-list/mango/ 

For multi-functionality within one family of products – Orangebox: https://www.orangebox.com/products/coze 

For informal collaboration and adhoc touchdown – Established & Sons: http://establishedandsons.com/products/grid/ 

 

For the increasing requirement (yes, really!) to have a ‘power nap’ in the day – Ahrend: https://www.ahrend.com/en/products/chairs/soft-seating/ahrend-loungescape-powernap/ 

For general awesome flexibility and innovation  – here’s one that I came across just recently which has blown me away (and I cannot wait to specify this in a project) https://deskview.co/  – check it out!!

Something else not to be dismissed and to mull over in equal measure alongside furniture solutions is the atmosphere that easily be created within a workspace.

Music and scent summon up all sorts of feelings and if implemented correctly, can really add to the vibe of a workspace. Understood that certain workplaces cannot have music playing as it would be massively prohibitive to productivity, and scents are hugely subjective (as is music choice for that matter), but to allow for this where possible will absolutely add an extra dimension to the workplace.

Daylight, temperature, storage solutions and a whole heap of other factors all contribute equally to the overall success of a workplace environment. Success in this instance is measured by the happiness of the workforce first and foremost; the output of the company they work for and its profits should naturally follow. If employees aren’t thriving, then how can they help the company they work for?

 

So, to conclude our ‘Cwtch thoughts on the workplace’:

 

  • We all need to work
  • We all want to thrive at work
  • We all embrace technology, but it disconnects us whilst simultaneously connecting us
  • We all desire community & collaboration in various guises
  • We all work in different ways
  • We all embrace different atmospheres….as long as there is one
  • There is a huge amount of choice out there to allow us to implement the best workplace environment, but most of us will need to be guided by an expert

 

www.studiocwtch-uk.com are experts in interior architecture. We work in partnership with you to create ideal working solutions that suit you, whether you are a large global corporation, an SME or a co-workspace. 

 

Mobius is a leading integrated services company providing the innovative office fit-out services that will ensure your workspace is brought to life on time and budget through quality workmanship and attention to detail.

 

 

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