“First we shape our places and then our places shape us.”
– Winston Churchill
In the fast-paced world of digital technology, innovative thinking and creative solutions are the key to staying one step ahead of competitors. According to a report by Capgemini carried out over a period of two years, digital savvy businesses are 26% more profitable. This could be down to their willingness to embrace new ways of thinking, from their processes to their working environment.
Based in Hull, the 2017 City of Culture, C4DI – or Centre for Digital Innovation – is a digital hub, helping the local economy to improve its digital offering with a £15million investment in the digital sector. C4DI works with more traditional local business, helping them innovate and grow, through using technology effectively. As a property designed to encourage digital innovation amongst designers, developers and technology start-ups, the interior design was a hugely important aspect of the building process and was supplied by Chameleon Business Interiors.
Shaun Watts, Chairman of Chameleon, explained, “We worked alongside the developers fitting out the office interiors based on designs and 3D visualisations which our design team created at the start of the project. It has been quite a journey and it has been amazing to literally see the day to day development of such an important local project from my own office.”
John Connolly, Co-founder of C4DI talks about the importance of a well-designed environment. “What we offer at C4DI is the future of digital in Hull and the local economy. We required a space that suited our forward-thinking brand and we needed the flexibility from a building that supports a wide range of organisations, businesses and individuals.”
Increasingly, technology companies are leaning towards interiors allowing for flexibility and a range of spaces for employees to work in. With the growing use of mobile devices to conduct work, organisations in the digital sector are being challenged to adapt their interior to allow agile working, giving workers the freedom to choose where and how they work. Breakout areas, quiet thinking spaces and communal tables are prioritised over traditional desks.
The Dublin office of Airbnb demonstrates this with a mixture of co-working and collaboration areas created to cultivate a sense of community. The office is divided into 29 neighbourhoods for up to 14 people each. Every neighbourhood comprises of one large table, personal storage, one or two sit stands and one lounge spot.
Rethinking commercial office design to nurture creative thinking and employee relationships is a running theme in interior design for the digital sector. Spaces are considered in terms of their function rather than their size. Instead of imposing board rooms, meeting spaces can be smaller informal areas with a homely feel.
Go Cardless, the UK’s leading Direct Debit provider developed their London offices to reflect the modern and forward-thinking nature of the brand. The office is designed to be a versatile work place, with flexible desk arrangements that can be adapted quickly and easily and a mixture of meeting and collaboration spaces.
The continuous advancement of technology means the digital sector must be open to adapting and updating their businesses to stay competitive. Technology companies are leading the way with commercial interior design to maximise productivity and creativity amongst staff and to utilise available space to stay one step ahead. The race to incorporate the most innovative technology is changing the way people work, and the working environment is changing to suit this.
This flexible more agile way of working incorporates dimensions of time and place flexibility, but also involves doing work differently focusing on performance and outcomes.
Technology companies know how important it is bringing people, processes, connectivity and technology, time and place together to find the most appropriate and effective way of working to carry out a particular task. It is working within the guidelines of the task but without boundaries of how you achieve it.
It’s about offering every employee choice and empowerment around where and when they work, as long as their job can be done.