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What businesses can learn from London Fashion Week when it comes to office design

Written by Tushar Agarwal on Thursday, 19 September 2019. Posted in HR, People

Long gone are the boring cubicle offices from the 80s; today offices are creative showrooms of design innovation.

What businesses can learn from London Fashion Week when it comes to office design

Long gone are the boring cubicle offices from the 80s; today offices are creative showrooms of design innovation. From flexible working to office wellness, cultural work trends have a major influence on office spaces. Inspiring environments can be a huge factor for increasing productivity, which is why creativity in office design is just as crucial as the basics. Not only does London Fashion Week showcase some of the greatest creative designs in the UK, it can also provide a real source of inspiration for office trends. 

Setting the office stage  

Office design has evolved massively over the past few decades as the culture of work and needs of companies have shifted. The Taylorism offices of the early 20th century centred on gaining maximum productivity with regimented office layouts and endless rows of desks. Typical of the industrial efficiency at the time, these open plan offices failed to take into account the fact that workers were humans, with real needs and emotions – not robots. 

This continued with the cubicle farms of the 80s, with companies all about profits and less about working conditions. Workers continued to be trapped in these closeted spaces until technology ushered in a new era of office design; paving the way for mobility and flexible working by putting the focus back on people. Workers today are no longer chained to their desks and have the freedom to move around different environments as suited to their needs. This has led to a boom in the creativity of office spaces around the world as businesses strive to inspire their teams through their daily environment. As such, the workplace has transformed from a purely functional space into one that’s nicer than most people’s homes.

London Fashion Week inspiration 

London Fashion Week has long been a hub of creative genius and often champions the trends that are influencing the workplace as well. The increasing focus on climate change has seen Gucci go carbon neutral and the British Fashion Council partner with BBC Earth. This growing social awareness has led to more and more people demanding sustainability in their lives; from their workspaces to their clothes. This has compelled a number of businesses to consider their environmental footprint and it’s brilliant to see so many green initiatives being implemented; such as the use of sustainable materials and renewable energy in the workplace. 

London Fashion Week has always been known for its bold designs and variety of styles; even within a single designer’s collection. This approach is now being replicated by office spaces across the city. From brainstorm pods and phone booths to golfing-inspired breakout spaces and outdoor seating, offices are embracing the concept of activity-based working. No longer is there just one style of working, people now have the freedom and flexibility to work according to their needs and preferences. 

One of London Fashion Week’s 2019 themes is community; encouraging the industry to develop connections and collaborate. This is also being reflected in office design, with the isolating cubicle desks of the 80s long gone and more businesses beginning to embrace the idea of shared offices. Coworking spaces can be a great solution for companies like startups or scaleups who need to be adaptable as they expand. They can also enable much greater flexibility for SMEs and larger companies, as well as offer benefits such as all-inclusive rent and top-quality facilities. They often foster a relaxed and fun community environment while encouraging creativity and collaboration; which in turn leads to a boost in team productivity and satisfaction. 

Creativity is key 

London Fashion Week has always been applauded for its innovative thinking and desire to embrace creativity to the benefit of consumers and the industry. Businesses should take note and consider how they can innovate to provide their teams with offices to inspire productivity and creativity. If people can choose how, where and when to work, they will be more productive and in turn enjoy their job even more. 

Creating office wish lists will help understand what teams need and want; it can be as easy as free drinks and snacks or it could be an on-site gym and pet-friendly facilities. Simple changes with big benefits can range from more biophilia in the office to natural light and fresh air. Small adjustments can make the biggest of differences when it comes to staff wellbeing. A happier and satisfied workforce means a productive business; it’s as simple as that.

As London Fashion Week shows, there’s no limit to constant design innovation. From free beer on tap and cupcake vending machines to slides and indoor climbing walls, businesses can get as creative as they want when it comes to office space.

About the Author

Tushar Agarwal

Tushar Agarwal

Tushar is Co-founder and CEO of Hubble. Previously, Tushar worked at Barclays and RBS and holds a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics.

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