Vox Pop: Architects Opinion

What is the role of good design in attracting staff back to the office? Here are three comments from leading architects:

“It’s a good, relevant question – not just for our clients but it is also incredibly relevant to our own organisation and culture. I am writing this sat at a flexible workplace, surrounded by the team, in an office that feels busy and at its optimum occupancy. There’s no other feeling like being all together.

There are many ways you can address how design can be a magnet for talent but perhaps at the heart of the issue is wellness. If you create a thoughtful wellbeing strategy that is shaped around improving health in a multitude of ways, people will see the trip to the office as being well worth it. Healthy spaces are no longer “a nice-to-have” but an essential ingredient of an attractive office.

The designer’s job is to collaborate with the other project team members to thread together the many strands of wellbeing, whether that be addressing the themes of light, air, sound and comfort in new and more radical ways or creating an activity-driven range of spaces.

Each element of the strategy needs careful thought, for example acoustics, A key component of wellbeing is being able to concentrate without distractions, making acoustic performance a key component of a healthy hybrid office. The range of spaces should be carefully planned to ensure the fundamentally different characteristics between spaces to connect and spaces to concentrate don’t interfere with each other. It is careful planning such as this that will allow the hybrid office to flourish now and into the future.”


“There is a new confidence emerging within workplace design, we’re seeing clients become bolder, looking for alternatives to typical office space and challenging space take requirements early on.

The role of good design is to support clients on this journey, it starts from choosing the right space for their new home. At tp bennett we have recently been involved in several building selections where buildings with intricacies that originally could be seen as design risks are now being considered as opportunities to unlock by good design.

These design opportunities can inspire staff to come to a new type of workplace that isn’t like a typical glass office building, instead arriving at a welcoming destination that feels unique. This is often seen particularly in listed buildings where exposing key heritage features helps to create exciting and considered workspaces with a story to tell.

The above, combined with the advancements in technology, is leading us towards better utilisation of space, more impactful flexible working environments with amenity and experience-led design approaches that support the way people want to live and work. At their heart workplaces should help humans connect and do their best work and our role as designers is to champion this moment, to look for those unique design opportunities in unusual buildings and create environments that are inclusive, human and inspiring to work in.”


“A great design achieves its objectives if the experience of the user is a significant component. User Experience (UX) design is the process of creating environments that provide meaningful and relevant experiences for people; UX adds intention to design solutions.

UX is the sum of impressions a person has when performing a sequence of activities. For any situation, a person’s experience is a combination of conscious and sub conscious factors: their expectations, perceptions, memories, imagination, emotion, and senses.

A curated workplace that provides choice for social interaction, learning and development, collaboration and focus, mental and physical wellbeing, is a design encompassing a broad range of space typologies embracing colour psychology and sensorial aspects to influence the ‘feel’ for each occupant.

Ultimately, the aim of good design is to help clients understand and capitalise on the vital dynamic that drives organisational performance- the relationship between people and the physical place. People’s habits have changed, and these changes are here to stay, a workplace design focused on enhancing UX being key to encouraging staff back to the office.”

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