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3 June 2020
Homeworking and the office of the future

With so many of us working from home during the coronavirus lockdown it is important that you take some time to ensure the space you are working in – whether that’s your bedroom, living room, spare room or your kitchen – works for you.

Our working environment has a measurable impact not just on our productivity but also our physical and mental health. So during these unprecedented times, it’s vital that we do as much as we can to help ensure our new work from home environment is as functional, supportive, healthy and inspiring as we can make it.

Small things can make a difference. Clear away any clutter. Move some potted plants into your chosen workspace. Access to nature in built spaces can play a key role in supporting healthy environments by mitigating stress and positively impacting cognitive and emotional health. CBRE’s healthy office research with the University of Twente found that biophilic design resulted in a 10% improvement in task performance.

Setting your workspace close to a window with access to natural light and fresh air has additional benefits. Improved air quality can enhance cognitive abilities by as much as 61%. If it is not possible to sit by a window, make sure that you take time to go for a walk. You will feel the benefits of movement too.

Other proven productivity-boosters include drinking ample fresh water (14% improvement) and eating balanced meals throughout the day (45% improvement). If you are currently working from home, why not use time saved from not commuting to prepare a healthy dinner? And always eat your lunch away from your workspace.

There has been much discussion that the global coronavirus pandemic will lead to a dramatic shift in work patterns, with remote working becoming the norm. Some have even predicted the end of the office.

We think these predictions are overdone. The office is not just a place to do work. It is more than just a place to come and do your job; it is a community and a crucible of corporate culture. For the past decade the design of offices has shifted to foster collaboration and the kind of serendipitous interactions that drive creativity. This can not be replicated on a Zoom call.

But what is certainly clear is that as the global pandemic lifts and the transition back to work gathers pace, there will be an increasing onus on ensuring that the office environment not only protects us from getting sick – but actually actively enhances our wellbeing.

We have been committed to creating healthy buildings for some time – not just because we think it’s right to design workplaces that make employees feel good – but because the workspace itself is a key strategic tool for companies and, if done right, can drive revenues and profit.

That’s why TBC.London is being designed to be one of the healthiest buildings in London – indeed the world. We are targeting a Platinum rating under the WELL Certification, the highest rating afforded by the international performance-based assessment methodology. Only around 20 buildings around the world have obtained this level.

Designing a WELL Building means focusing on a range of key features right from the outset – air quality and filtration; provision of drinking water and healthy food options; optimal lighting; facilitating movement; minimising noise and providing different kinds of workspace for different activities; and introducing biophilia.

Now more than even it is important to advance a global culture of health that includes everyone. The International WELL Building Institute has assembled a task force of experts from public health, government, academia and philanthropy, as well as the architecture, design and real estate communities, to explore how we can do so through the design of our built environment, including how buildings can contribute to mitigating and recovery from coronavirus and future pandemics.

Already the WELL Building Institute is looking at increasing its metrics to ensure even higher quality air filtration is in place. We are following this work closely and aim to ensure TBC.London is not only one of the greenest buildings in London, but one of the healthiest. A place fit for the future of work when this pandemic passes.

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