12 Days of Trends: A Focus on Creating Better, More Human Spaces

We’re counting down to 2020 by sharing 12 days of emerging workplace trends! Learn what trends our top global contributors are most excited to see evolve in the new year. 

Trend 8 of 12: Domino Risch believes focusing on people will we create better, more human spaces that allow people to thrive.

human spaces
Nicole England

In the late 90’s in Australia, there was a revolution in workplace thinking.  We didn’t know it at the time but this revolution set us on the path that has led to today’s agile, or activity-based environments because of the conviction at the leadership level in corporate organisations that space (well designed space!) could fundamentally effect people, and therefore, performance, and therefore, profitability.  The classic Venn diagram of People, Process, Place was rolled out in boardrooms across Sydney and Melbourne.

Since then, an entire workplace eco-system has grown around how we can better design spaces to meet the vision, aspiration and purpose of an organisation, and many of the tools that we use to formulate those design responses have been based on simplistic reductions and stereotypes of ‘workstyles’ (knowledge workers, process workers, mobile workers etc) or ‘personas’ (Laura rides her Vespa to work every day and needs a locker for her helmet before she gets her chai latte etc.).

In 2012 Susan Cain wrote the book ‘Quiet’ which invited us think more deeply about one of the fundamental dimensions of personality – the introvert and the extrovert.  This created an awareness for many workplace designers that an approach of ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t really work when it comes down to actual, real, individual people who never really fit into a category, workstyle or persona.

So as we move into 2020, two decades since setting off on this path, I’m absolutely convinced that we are on the cusp of another revolution in workplace thinking, one that flips the conversation from being about simply creating spaces, even if they are beautiful, aspirational and highly functional spaces, to one that focuses first and foremost on people – and on being human.

Because I passionately believe that by focusing on people, on curating incredible experiences, on elevating wellbeing, on embracing diversity in all it’s forms, on being attuned to the sensory impact of the spaces we create, on nurturing emotional connections, then, and only then, will we create better places, that are human spaces, that allow people to thrive, and that are places that people love.

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