Kinnarps seminar 2017 - The Future of Work

On Thursday the 30th of March, I was lucky enough to attend the latest seminar from workplace furniture manufacturers, Kinnarps at WWF UK’s ‘The Living Planet Centre’ in Woking.

Back in 2015, my Paramount colleagues came here for the launch of the Kinnarps Trend Report. It was my first visit to the Living Planet Centre and it certainly makes an impressive first impression.

The Building

A landmark building for the future of the workplace, the Living Planet Centre is a perfect example of how sustainability and office design can work in harmony.

Before the seminar, I had some time to fully immerse myself in the sights and sounds of nature, thanks to the centre’s fun and informative interactive zones.

The Office Space

Kinnarps went to amazing lengths, through the use of furniture and workspace design, to encourage WWF’s employees to embrace a new way of agile working.

Open and flooded with natural light, the office space offers a wide range of bright and welcoming areas to socialise.

Image source: WWF

Tall living trees in the heart of the building are perfect examples of the recent trend of biophilic office design.

The Seminar

Having been thoroughly impressed by the venue, it was time for the presentations from the guest speakers in the Cisco auditorium.

Workplace Wellbeing

First up were representatives from design and architecture firm, Gensler. They were here to talk about the importance of wellbeing in the workplace.

They looked at how responsible office design can help to reduce the health risks associated with sedentary working and encourage activity in the workplace.

The physical and mental health of employees should be one of the main focuses for businesses. Especially since 70 million working days are lost every day in the UK due to stress.

Gensler had conducted research that explored just how workplace design could influence employee wellness.

From air quality and biophilia to lighting, acoustics and ergonomic design, they presented case studies that illustrated the benefits these could bring to working environments.

Image © Garrett Rowland

Myths and Realities

Next up was an inspiring presentation by James Woudhuysen, Professor of Forecasting and Innovations at DeMontfort University Leicester, about the myths and realities of technological innovation.

It covered the topical and controversial subject of automation in the workplace and whether new technology would create or terminate jobs.

This video is a short and useful introduction to the presentations on the day…

If you’d like to find out more, you can download the full presentations here.

Overall, this proved to be an enjoyable day out with the Paramount team.

It was a pleasure to visit the greenest piece of architecture and design I’ve probably ever been inside. Plus, we got to hear knowledgeable experts talking about some fascinating topics.

I can’t wait to take what I learned and start to feed it into my next office fit-out project.

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