Right from the outset, we approach our spaces by thinking about our clients’ experience and journey. In some cases, a work space may be something else entirely when we first look into acquiring it, or it may not exist at all – some of our forthcoming spaces are being constructed from the ground up. We spend time in these early stages considering different user experiences, and when we first get the opportunity to physically be in the building and walk the space, our thinking often changes. On plan, you can walk through the building from its entrance, to how it feels if you need to store your bike and take a shower, or where the nearest toilets are. When you actually physically make that journey, it sometimes doesn’t feel right and we’ll adapt it.
Fundamentally, this thought process is all about people, and we’re fortunate that the in-house team at TOG are pretty typical of the people that use our work spaces. Together we have the collective insight of bringing over 50 buildings to market. We also work with external architects and designers to widen the lens, to keep challenging the thinking and bring in the experience of other users from a varied range of sectors – hospitality, retail, commercial, residential and so on. It’s incredibly exciting for us to work with such inspirational talent from the likes of Universal Design and DMFK in the UK to Note Design Studio and Studio David Thulstrup from Scandinavia.
Some design principles are fairly obvious. The use of natural daylight is key, for example. It’s probably the single most important factor that we take into consideration, and not just in private offices but throughout the whole building. It’s proven that if you work in a space filled with natural light, you sleep better, you function better and overall, you feel better. Often, natural daylight is overlooked and some work spaces are designed with more emphasis on ‘sweating the asset’ and thinking too much about revenues. In our experience there is more value in creating spaces for people to thrive and do their best work – and the way in which we consider our design must support this.