Recalibrating the Office Environment Through Workplacemaking: A New Urban Design Practice

Real Estate Developer IPUT Launches Global Research Report on the Future of Work

IPUT Real Estate (‘IPUT’), Ireland’s leading property company, in conjunction with multinational consultancy firm, ARUP releases its global research report ‘Making Place’: The Recalibration of Work, Life and Place.

The study describes what employees look for in a workplace, and how work and living spaces can be mixed while maintaining important economic functions and social needs that contribute to making cities more enriching and sustainable.

Digitalisation has blurred the boundaries between the office and the home, and office environments have, as yet, failed to respond to that. Making Place dives deep into a new urban design practice – Workplacemaking – a middle ground which addresses the need for a productive work environment, while acknowledging the necessity of public social spaces. IPUT’s upcoming landmark office development Wilton Park Estate in Dublin will serve as a case study in addressing this new urban design practice by creating a new sustainable environment for both work and leisure.

“We are at a watershed moment, with only 11% of office workers reporting that they will revert back to a five-day office week post pandemic. There is a clear need for companies, developers and city planners to rethink the design and uses of office neighborhoods to ensure these spaces reflect the mindset of today’s more agile workforce. The real estate industry has a unique opportunity now to make positive changes to reassert the value of future workplaces to the social and economic fabric of our towns and cities.”

Niall Gaffney, Chief Executive, IPUT Real Estate Dublin.

Workplacemaking identifies five different types of spaces based on what employees are now seeking from office life, further inspiring productivity, connectivity and sustainability:

  • Watering Holes
  • Street Classrooms
  • Cultural Canvases
  • Mind Labs
  • Mind Gardens

Examples of each of the five typologies are set out within the Making Place report.

“We now recognize that workplaces offer unique experiences that are not available when working from home. Those experiences include social and cultural fulfilment as well as opportunities for learning and collaboration. Long-term planning and strategic investment in workplaces centered around the report’s recommendations and typologies has the potential to improve the working lives of today’s professionals and to the development of sustainable cities.”

Léan Doody, Co-Author of the Report, ARUP

The study concludes successful workplacemaking requires developers, city-makers, and employers to collaborate on livening cities by invigorating the work environment, and critically, making offices relevant to the future needs of its tenants and surrounding communities long term. For developers, this is about working hard to source and create places from which people willingly want to work. For employers, this is about looking outward and having a more involved relationship with their local community. By creating a campus-style office with amenities such as canteens, gyms and other services, employees are not contributing to the surrounding community. For city makers, this means engaging with the concept of workplacemaking to promote the mix of office space and community amenities.

The report reveals the results of research undertaken by YouGov on behalf of IPUT, together with exclusive one-to-one interviews with more than 20 global industry professionals. Contributors to the report include LinkedIn, MIT, Mishcon de Reya, the Urban Land Institute, Wells Fargo, the City of Copenhagen and University College London.

Research supports measured return to office

Research conducted among 1,300 mainly office-based workers [in the UK] indicates that 84% of respondents advocated the social and personal benefits office working, while 79% also said that there are professional benefits that could be missed out on in working from home. It reveals employee concerns that they are missing out on promotions and opportunities for advancement by being ‘out of sight and mind’, and in particular that progress in building diverse and inclusive workforces could be set back. Young professionals are especially concerned about the impact of working from home with 52% of young employees reporting that they felt their opportunities for career progression and learning suffered when their main place of work moved from the office to the home during the coronavirus lockdown. However, only 11% would prefer to work in an office all of the time, suggesting that the shift to office- based workers splitting more of their time between home and work is likely to be a permanent one.

Facts and Figures

  • 84% of typically office-based workers say there are social and personal benefits to sharing a physical workplace.
  • 79% say there are professional benefits to working in an office – which are being missed out on in work from home.
  • 52% of young employees concerned about career progression following move to working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Before lockdown, 88% of office-based workers in London interacted with colleagues around work every day.
  • Being able to have spontaneous social encounters with colleagues is the main factor that office-based workers most appreciate.
  • In London, company, culture and values is the third most important consideration when choosing a job, after salary and hours.
  • 11% said they would prefer to work in an office most of the time, while 50% would like to split their week equally between the office and the home in the future. 
  • 73% of typically office-based employees worked from home at least three days per week during lockdown.
  • 91% believe there are personal benefits to being able to work from home and work flexible hours.
  • 60% of employees who are over 55 years old reported that their health and wellbeing improved.
  • Women are 22% more likely than men to have felt their sense of health and wellbeing improve while working from home during lockdown.

About IPUT

IPUT is Ireland’s leading property company and the largest owner of offices and logistic assets in Dublin. We are a long-term investor with a 50-year track record in real estate. We own and manage 95 properties comprising over 460 000 sqm, with a net asset of value of over €2.75 billion.
Web:                www.IPUT.com
LinkedIn:         IPUT Real Estate Dublin        
Instagram:      iput_real_estate_dublin

About ARUP

ARUP is one of the largest engineering consulting firms in Ireland, with over 550 qualified and accredited engineers and staff in four offices. Striving to protect the rich history of Irish architecture, founders Sir Ove Arup and local architect Michael Scott made a plan in 1946 to deliver landmark projects and unrivalled local expertise.