Partner Paulette Christophersen talked at Oslo Design Fair, Trends & Traditions

How does design impact on people and their wellbeing and productivity in the workplace? And what does the workplace of the future look like? Those were some of the questions that Partner and Workplace Specialist, Paulette Christophersen addressed at Trends & Traditions pop-up fair in Oslo.

People centred design
Initially, Paulette illustrated why it is desirable and convenient to design office buildings and workplaces from an inside-out-perspective, with people and human needs at the centre.

“Buildings have “human qualities”, such as supporting social interactions and culture. They also represent a functional and technical solution for housing the defined user needs, together with a form and expression that creates experience and identity,” Paulette concluded.

Based on concrete examples of PLH Arkitekter’s work, Paulette also talked about how workplace design promotes productivity, innovation and wellbeing at the workplace. It is important to offer people variation, flexibility and choices – e.g. by arranging and zoning activities in a meaningful way. For companies and organisations there are also substantial economic gains in investing in a tailormade workplace design:

”For many companies, employee costs are in the order of 85% of their total costs, which dwarfs the investment in the physical workplace. When you also consider that the design of workplaces impacts on people’s engagement and productivity, it is crazy not to focus on how these two things relate, ” Paulette said.

The workplace of the future
Paulette also participated in and exciting sofa talk with Henrik Botten Taubøll, Nordic CEO at Wework, about what we can expect regarding the future of workplaces. Some of the answers lie in the trends we see with the preferences of the younger generations, that will represent a majority of the workforce within just a few years.

“The younger workforce wants to tailor the day around how they personally integrate their individual work-life. For now, there is still an expectation of a desk, but this could quickly change with the next generation,” Paulette concluded.

It was also agreed that the present focus on sustainability will make it acceptable to re-think how we use office buildings, opening up for more sharing and mixed-use.

What about all this data we are collecting?
Today, we have access to lots of data, which Paulette highlighted is beneficial if used intelligently.

“You need to ask the right questions and be aware of what is important for your company’s success, employee satisfaction, talent attraction etc. before you start measuring. You also need to think about how you can apply the knowledge to viable solutions and remember that future workplace challenges may require totally different thinking than analyzing current solutions,” Paulette concluded.

Nordic workplace design
PLH Arkitekter designs Nordic workplaces, that help companies and organisations meet global business challenges through sustainable, healthy and innovative workplaces. The right workplace design unleashes value, ensuring higher levels of productivity and wellbeing among employees, and thus supporting and organisation’s strategic objectives, brand and culture.