Enhancing the Tenants Experience
Dthree recently completed the design and fit-out of the London office space of Young Minds, a non-profit organisation leading the fight for a future where all young minds are supported and empowered, whatever the challenge. This exciting project started with a thorough workplace consultancy exercise run by parent company DeVono Cresa, who went on to acquire the new office space for Young Minds. Next came the creative design, and fit-out by Dthree.
In the latest edition of DeVono Cresa’s quarterly market report, The Occupier, Dthree Project Director Tom Aird, and Senior Designer Jess Willdigg discuss how they went about designing a space to meet the specific needs of this particularly unique client. In this blog we highlight some of the key learnings from this office space design and fit-out. A read-out of the full interview can be found here.
Developing Young Minds for a Sunnier Future
Young Minds, with the support of Dthree, wanted to create a new workspace that truly celebrated what they do and an environment where everyone, including their activists, can comfortably collaborate under the same roof. In order to achieve this, Dthree worked in lockstep with the Young Minds team 12 months prior to their move to fully understand what they needed from their new space.
The team undertook an extensive audit to ensure that the needs of each staff member were understood. Staff engagement surveys and desktop working analysis were conducted, with worker travel patterns also identified and studied to ensure staff happiness and retention was sustained and maximized when considering possible site locations.
Does moving to a new office space change the experience?
By working with Young Minds from the very beginning, Dthree were able to help them create the perfect work environment, whilst accounting for all of their established needs. It was also important that the design was both suitable and sustainable, taking account of potential long-term growth. This meant ‘stress testing’ and questioning their brief early, to ensure the space was exactly what they required both now, and in the future.
As Jess explains in the interview, “There is space for expansion and the accommodation of ‘typical desks’. At the same time, and as part of the brief, we wanted to create a large flexible working breakout space, so there are plenty of hot desk options for those that don’t require standard fixed-desk space.”
Wellbeing office design
By creating large breakout spaces, as well as booths and quiet rooms with more privacy, it not only offered more flexibility, but truly supported the nature of their work. It was crucial that the environment that Young Minds worked in promoted well-being, not just for staff, but also for their advocates who spend a large amount of time in the space provided.
As Tom highlights in the interview, “The key factor in the building search was to enable and encourage staff to interact more.” He goes on to mention that in addition to the building search, the inclusion of private rooms in the office layout also meant staff were able to take time for themselves, switch off and recharge.
Sustainable design at the core
In today’s day and age, sustainable office space solutions are increasingly taking centre stage. Not only did we want to create a space that would enhance the experience for Young Minds, but one that would consider sustainability and the growing importance of the green agenda.
In Jess’ own words: “It is every designer’s responsibility to be aware of the sustainability elements within their designs and selected products.” This ethos was carried out on the Young Minds site, both during and after construction. For example, the carpet we used throughout the space is made from recycled content, the paints we used are all water based so don’t have as many VOC’s in comparison to most commercial paints, the joinery wood is sustainably sourced, and the fabric used is from a British supplier, so has a low carbon footprint and is made up of natural materials such as wool.
A trend we are currently seeing is office space design continuing to evolve and needing to support all elements of sustainability. Clients are increasingly demanding – rightly so we believe – that designers find solutions that wholeheartedly embrace and incorporate the green agenda.
A smile to behold
With the work complete, the biggest test of all was how well the space worked and functioned for Young Minds and its workforce. In the words of Tom, what stood out most was “the collective expression of their culture. Having got to know them over the seven months leading up to the relocation, I really feel it is their home and will help them to grow, and continue to try different things in the years to come.”
Read the full transcript of the Young Minds interview here.
Dthree can support you through the process of designing an office that you can call home; an environment that compliments work life but also enhances how you live. Get in touch today to start your workplace journey.