Christiano Testo, principal director of TP Bennett, and Sonya Simmonds, Head of Workplace, Design and Build at Spotify, recently joined Marcus Fairs, Dezeen’s founder and editor in London to discuss how working from home this past year has made architects and designers rethink the optimal office environment.
Christiano highlights the benefits he felt from a of work-from-home environment. He reminisces, “Every morning, instead of getting on a crowded train, I would go for a walk in the park with my wife… and when I sat down at my desk… I was performing at my absolute best.” This routine allowed him to decompress and recharge prior to starting his workday and enhanced his productivity. These shared experiences among those who have been working from home have led office designers to reevaluate the best environments for employees and businesses to thrive. More than ever before, office space designers and consultants incorporating outdoor space, better restaurants, and gyms into their designs. He also mentioned the importance of having a workspace that “looks out onto nature, looks out onto light, looks out onto human activity.” These new priorities all contribute to the realization that “we have to humanize the office,” in order to satisfy employees.
Sonya has also rethought the design of Spotify’s office spaces. She places an emphasis on comfort, given the nature of a work-from-home environment, while also remembering human need for interaction. She says, “We must create shared spaces that answer this need for togetherness, but also think about freshness, health, and separation.” She thinks that variety is critical to the office spaces of the future because it is something we have gotten since working from home. Sonya believes that a mix of communal and private spaces to work will be critical to employee’s happiness and success within an office environment.
Christiano and Sonya see incredible opportunity for post-pandemic workspaces. Sonya expresses, “Office places have become magic places where you can create what you want to create, rather than being in a sea of desks.” Christiano adds, “The five senses are everything to us, it’s how we experience the world. The offices of the future will have to consider all five senses in an equal way.” Both guests envision future workspaces that provide a holistic experience that fosters comfort, interaction, and wellbeing all at once.
Watch the full discussion below: