Under the heading "Offices of the Future", Grupo Vía has gathered leading firms in the workplace field, such as 3G Office, ISS, Alford Hall Monaghan Morris, Impact HUB, Zooco, ISG or CBRE at the Actiu showroom in Madrid to discuss the new trends in workspaces. It is an event sponsored by Actiu and Erco, which have presented products and solutions for furniture, monitoring, home automation and lighting, which create better spaces and enhanced well-being.
What clients and users demand, how to optimise the coexistence of offices with coworking spaces and remote work, or what are the keys to achieving healthy work environments are just some of the aspects analysed by the attendees. This is a sector in constant change, both in its work methods and corporate cultures, and in the generations that use the spaces, technologies or relationship habits, where design plays a fundamental role when it comes to creating experiences that make each space unique.
“The focus on workspaces is more on their content than on where they are located," says Joaquín Marco, director of 3G Office Iberia, for whom the model is increasingly similar to educational architecture and it is essential to design this content based on learning, wellbeing and innovation. “In fact, the workspace itself can act as a showroom or a space for events," he adds.
In the same vein, Beatriz Santos, Head of Workplace Services Spain at ISS, stressed that making a beautiful space is no longer enough and it is essential to define what the user experience is going to be like.
"You have to understand the company's objective, what it does and what it needs, and how the user experiences the space, not only through the physical environment but also through an experience that responds to their objectives and values," said Santos.
Understanding this, and applying it through new actions and protocols, will lead to benefits for organisations in terms of wellbeing, a sense of belonging and productivity, which will help in attracting and retaining talent.
“Nowadays, more than ever before, we are considering how we want to live in workspaces, and one of the concepts that comes through is the experience and how we want to enjoy these places", explains Macarena Azqueta, an architect at Alford Hall Monoghan Morris, who highlights people’s desire to work in environments that they feel part of and that enhance the feeling of community.
For her, integrating spaces for leisure, sport and relaxation into the working environment improves productivity and the quality of life of its occupants, ensuring that the buildings serve as a catalyst for society and the city they occupy.
The dual capacity of these new workspaces, which not only help people to feel good and be productive, but also help organisations to achieve their purpose and objectives, has been discussed by María Calvo. The Director of Workspaces at Impact HUB highlights how it is no longer a case of just designing the physical space, but also about managing it.
"The 'what for', what I want to happen in the spaces and how I want them to impact on the users is fundamental," she points out. In this regard, she stresses that the change in these workspaces goes beyond the norm, "energising communities that will create value".
The partners at the architectural firm Zooco, Miguel Crespo and Sixto Martín, have analysed "how values associated with change and versatility, which until recently were only the client's wish, have become indispensable qualities in most offices,” through two spaces designed for the same company at two very different times: the pre- and post-pandemic.
“We have to be flexible because the future is changing and adaptability to this change is what is going to give us value,” adds Carmen Rico de Cabo, Fitout Managing Director at ISG, for whom it is essential to work on this flexibility, whether it is in the office, at home or in a coworking space.
New forms and workspaces in which, through the motto 'Right Thing First', the aim is to provide value and do things correctly according to what is most appropriate for each client, supplier, collaborator and end user.
At CBRE Spain, its Associate Director Corporate & Human Strategy, Teresa Sotomayor, emphasises the slow evolution in working methods and how the pandemic has forced and accelerated changes in priorities and mentality.
“The secret is to be resilient and know how to respond to the conflicting interests of workers and companies” says Sotomayor, who highlights the need for companies to analyse the profile of their workers when designing their spaces so as to respond to their needs and see what type of hybrid model best suits each of them.
To top the meeting off, the guests analysed what kind of experiences act as a point of attraction and activation for the spaces, how to work in outdoor spaces productively, the rehabilitation of buildings under sustainable parameters, the hybrid model in areas as diverse as the hotel, retail or domestic sectors, or how to integrate the different generations. This is an interesting debate on a sector that never stops evolving, for which Actiu proposes versatile furniture ranges and solutions that, like Gaia, allow workspaces to be managed in a more efficient and sustainable way, where people’s wellbeing has a direct impact on company productivity.
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