Workspaces for the Sharing Economy – a talk at Clerkenwell Design Week

May 20, 2015 - Mike Dilke

Yesterday I went to an excellent talk at  Davison Highley as part of the Clerkenwell Design Week. It was looking at how work spaces are changing now, how they might change in the future and what makes a good office environment in this climate. It was given by Lily Bernheimer of Space Works Consulting and started off by looking at who will be using these offices and what their habits are.

She opened my eyes to how 'Millenials' - that is people aged 18 to 34 - often approach life in general. I suspected I was a bit of a dinosaur but I hadn't grasped just how much I have missed. These guys pursue a thing called 'Individual Collectivism' which means they just do things differently and phrases to describe everyday events for them didn't exist a few years ago.  Examples are things like bike share, care share, car clubs and crowd funding.

These emerging new ways are making  requirements  for a new type of office which is referred to as a 'co-working space.' These offices cater to new working habits such as people based at home but who sometimes like to interact with others. Another example could be those travelling for business and needing an occasional base in a new area. With people working in different ways with new technology there will be almost as many reasons for using the new type of office as people doing so.

Co-working spaces are not a whole load of enclosed little offices but more of a dynamic space with different areas for each type of activity. Lily explained that the success of each one depends on getting the balance of providing areas for quiet work, making telephone calls/skyping and meetings right. That has to be done taking into account light, personal space, smell, heat, noise and a host of other things -  and of course it has to be a 'nice' place to be.

I think that companies that get the layout right and can arrange a sensible way for customers to access it and pay for it will have a good business in the future. Maybe I should start looking for a vacant building!


Davison Highley make upholstered furniture -

Lily Bernheimer is with Space Works  Consulting -