Photographs: Andre J Fanthome
Photographs: Andre J Fanthome

Amit Aurora shares the latest trends in workspace design

The partner at group DCA feels that these extraordinary times have changed the way we see our workplaces

Confined to our homes, we created small worlds of our own in the spaces from where we work, collaborate and function.  With the influx of content worldwide advising us to increase our efficiencies, digitally exchanging our ideas, we have settled into our new remote working environment. And now when the time is near to return to our offices, these extraordinary times have changed the way we see our workplaces.

Perhaps being aware of the future, do we now have to start by bringing about a paradigm shift in the anthropometrics standards of our interiors? What should be the design interventions to carve spaces that are neutral and flexible enough to adapt to ever-evolving humanity, while still accomplishing individual needs today? The answer, maybe, is the key to unlock the wellspring of individuals, and by immediate extension, workplace well-being.

People and the built environment: Changes in the experience economy
Design is a tool to craft an environment that encourages physical, spiritual and intellectual well-being. Providing employees an environment both for physical and mental health care allows companies to give them a chance to look forward to spending their time at work.
Today’s work culture is disregarding traditional hierarchical norms. Cubicles are being dissolved to create flexible workspaces, communal tables and breakout zones for collaboration and free flow of ideas. Companies are cognizant of these changes and are receptive to the new design trends. Hence, a fine balance can be achieved in the design strategy, where cubicles are created as well as meeting rooms, such that they seamlessly integrate into the more open and flexible office arrangements.
Within this regard, flexible collaborative spaces such as amphitheatre-style multi-purpose workspaces, rather than the typical conference rooms or cubicles, can give more power to employees to control their work experience.

Fasten form and function by integrating people and nature
Biophilic design implies “incorporation of natural materials, natural light, vegetation, nature views and other experiences of the natural world into the modern built environment”. Making the spaces as a celebration of the sun engages rhythm and has direct effects on our responses. As a matter of fact, the insights of neuroscience manifested in the practice of architecture state that natural daylight escalates performance and productivity at work. Daylight can be a creative tool to carve a mood within architectural constructs as a glimmer of genius. We have had front-row seats as architects and designers, and therefore we must ensure that if light can create sentiments that pervade physical objects, it can also form a character in brick and mortar buildings.

Amit Aurora, partner, group DCA.

Designing for well-being
Nonetheless the shift, the design interventions will always aim towards stimulating collaboration, engagement, and wellness of the employees in the workplace. Since employees are spending the majority of their day in office, it is important to give due attention to their well-being. Inspired by our values of creating experiential engagement, wellness rooms and areas allowing for activities such as yoga, meditation, and other exercises, are being designed. This encourages a positive atmosphere promoting collaboration and showing the employees that the company cares for their health and well-being. Cafeterias and breakout rooms allow for free movement, which encourages mobility and provides for an active workplace.
Keeping in mind the subtle art of maintaining efficacy in workplace design, adapting to the unusual times and revolutionising the way we work can bring about the occurrence of big things as expected from the year 2020.



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