Convergence is key to offices in a post-pandemic world

13th January 2021

"We are experiencing significant changes in many aspects of city life, not least our office culture and how, when and where we work" writes Helen Berresford for Property Week.

The nature of our workplaces was being scrutinised before the pandemic and the past 10 months have turbo-charged a reappraisal of corporate culture, which will have a lasting impact on how office development engages with the idea of convergence.

In recent years, design has been moving away from single office blocks containing only floorplates with seas of desks. There has been a rejection of this ‘factory-line’ approach to offices that borrowed ideas from influential early 20th-century thinkers such as Frederick Taylor, who promoted industrial efficiency as the key ingredient for productivity.

WFH has made workplaces inspired by Taylorism, with its ideas of surveillance (a precursor to presenteeism) and clear hierarchy, look even more antiquated. Noting these changing ideals, our clients – who recognise that offices still have a vital part to play in a new generation of agile working – are now asking us to create longer-term visions of how to tempt their teams back to the office, sparking collaboration and preserving their cultures.

These strategies revolve around convergence – specifically, how office environments can weave together the facilities and atmosphere of a range of different spaces and sectors. This focus on a more convivial atmosphere is a nod to the first collaborative workspaces: the 17th century coffee shops of London, where human interaction was valued over mechanised processes.

Read the full article here

Helen Berresford RIBA

Partner, Head of ID:SR