Home or away: the expert’s views

After our recent panel discussion ‘workification and homification’ we managed to grab a few moments with each of our experts to hear their thoughts on how, and where, people work best.

Our chair, Professor Jeremy Myerson, sets the scene with the concept of work/life blend. People are moving work back into the home rather trying to balance time in two (or more) places.  But, from a corporate perspective there is a move towards getting employees back into offices. Is there a right way?  

Our retailer, David Barrett from John Lewis explained in the main discussion that there home office equipment and technology sales are increasing, but that developing a suitable range of products can be tricky as customers often make some surprising decisions...

https://youtu.be/6UtuRyY3gyg?list=PLIeMxqLmSDnNPNv4KLSOv5rWHWYaLHyFM

Our designer, Sebastian Conran, sums up the conflict many employees and employers feel.  People need to be together to create a team, bouncing ideas around is almost impossible if someone is physically missing. But quiet time, at home, is needed when concentration is vital. Luckily, technology allows you to have the best of both worlds.

Our entrepreneur, Amelia Coward, gave us an insight into how her idea grew from a kitchen table business into an office/studio environment.  Her team has grown with her, and stayed with her because of the family-style culture and work space they have created. There’s no ‘WFH’ for this team!

https://youtu.be/Wn9VSILCjco?list=PLIeMxqLmSDnNPNv4KLSOv5rWHWYaLHyFM

Finally, our people person and BBC executive Kirstin Furber shared her views on how people want to work today. She told us that people want to be themselves, and will be at their best when they are allowed to do so. For this to happen, there has to be trust and respect, throughout the organisation and a shared sense of purpose – and that the office is still probably the best place to connect with that purpose.


So is there a right way to work?  It appears not, not for everyone at all times anyway.  It’s clear balance, or blend, and individuality is the answer, but when it comes to creating workspaces and successful working practices, that’s not a straightforward  task.  Jeremy might just have summed it up best ‘the issue is trust and productivity and the implications for furniture manufactures, architects and employers are huge”.