We had a thought-provoking lunch discussion entitled “Office? What office?”,
introduced by Ron McMeeking Interim Head of Property and Facilities at Skills Development Scotland and previously head of EMEA, US and then the Asia and India, with Cisco Systems. 7 guests attended along with Ron and Hugh, Gillian and Jean from haa design.
Ron sketched out how work, and the design of the office, had been revolutionised
but was set to change even more. She posed the question as to what extent this was the effect of technology and asked what we might realistically see in the future. She noted how the private sector, and the likes of technology-adept companies such as Cisco, had led the field in the past but pointed out how this was starting to change with the acutely cost-conscious public sector now starting to enforce change on everyone and in a somewhat
different manner. In particular Ron pointed out how the drive for improved
sustainability was affecting all organisations and how the Scottish
Government’s undertakings (to reduce carbon emissions by 42% by 2020) were
likely to have a major effect on the behaviour of both public and private
organisations, even in the short term. This change would come from the need for
all organisations to reduce the extent of their space occupancy, being that key
factor underpinning any organisation’s overall energy consumption and
How this drive towards consolidation was then going to affect the behaviour of all
organisations, not to mention the entire property industry, then became the
subject of our somewhat nervous speculation.
As either consumers of space or practitioners located somewhere within the wide
construction industry we all had relevant observations to make and penetrating
questions to ask about the effect of all this on an organisation’s need to
remain competitive and Glasgow’s and Scotland’s need to effect best use of
resources. While “normal” life was still able to continue however there was
agreement on the critical need to take the design of office space seriously,
both to save on costs and also to remain flexible and effective in our day to
day dealings. There might once have been a time when the nature of one’s office
space could have been taken for granted. Those days seem to have well and truly
passed, but current challenges are invigorating as much as they are scary and there
was agreement that the likelihood was that much good might still come out of
the current recession and world shake up.
We returned to our respective offices (by foot!) persuaded that we should all
review our office space strategies and become better people.