Helen Berresford heads up ID:SR, the interior design offshoot of architecture practice Sheppard Robson. She has overseen projects for ITV and BBC North at MediaCityUK in Salford (both of which featured in onoffice), among others, and here turns her attentions to some of the less appealing of aspects of workplace design. Stroppy third-space workers loitering in coffee shops, beware.
Hot desks not only represent workplace-speak at its worst, but in my experience, they normally sit in a cold and dusty corner, far from the action. The term takes away a sense of belonging and alienates people: desk numbers become the currency of an office population, assuming a factory-like mono-task culture. Offices should seek to support a greater variety of activities, more akin to the complexity of a city neighbourhood.
My local deli is occasionally taken over by grumpy laptop workers scowling at chat, chortles and children’s giggles as they try to work, corrupting what is first and foremost a social space with their less social activity. While I’m the first to advocate working anywhere, please, party poopers, don’t kill our social spaces.
If we can make technology like smartphones so sleek and desirable, surely we can turn our attention to the basic essentials that litter our spaces with their plastic lumpiness? Time for some industrial design attention to be turned to our humble office kit.