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Solopreneurs, GigParents and Niche-ification of Workspace

At this month's CoreNet EMEA Summit x Unispace panel we asked: "How can we design offices that provide a wider range of amenities, supporting the blur of work and lifestyle?"

On 13 September, we hosted a panel and proudly sponsored the CoreNet Global EMEA Summit 'Blurring the lines: Transcending Boundaries', one of the world’s premier real estate events.

What's next for the contingent worker? 

Exploring office design and working models, we presented our latest research that discusses finding the right balance between work and lifestyle, supporting efficiency whilst also providing the right amenities.

The session was hosted by Natasha Bonugli, Regional Principal, Design (Europe) and PR consultant John Williams, who speaks regularly at industry events and collaborated with us on ‘The Craft of Disruption’. Chloe Hamman from workplace engagement specialists Culture Amp and Lisa-Jane Risk of Towergate Insurance and former chairwoman of Women in Property UK, joined us on the panel to share their valuable industry insights. 

Exploring working models and finding the right balance

Together, Natasha and John presented research and design ideas informing a forthcoming Unispace white paper that assesses the challenges facing the ever-growing contingent workforce and how workplace design can mitigate these issues. Workplace design needs to be more in tune with worker's lifestyle requirements and, in particular, parents as they return to work and manage changing priorities.

Some initial insights presented by the panel are highlighted below. 

workplace design, office design, commercial interiors

We looked at the definition of the contingent worker and the types of people this particular workforce comprises. We identified 'solopreneurs', those involved in the gig economy and independent contractors. 

workplace design, office design, commercial interiors

We looked at this new workforce and how they are changing the way office design works for them. We saw one of the biggest trends was finding the balance between lifestyle and workplace, with a staggering 86% of respondents from our survey with Women in Property agreeing or strongly agreeing that future real estate strategy should provide a wider range of amenity choices.

workplace design, office design, commercial interiors

Offices have been unsuccessful in enticing women back into work and aren’t supporting workers as productively as they could be. With an aging population in many EMEA countries, it is imperative that occupiers engage these workers, be they contingent or full-time.

workplace design, office design, commercial interiors

Our panelists also noted that it wasn't only part-time mothers who face these issues, with 44% of contingent workers strongly agreeing and 34% agreeing that more could be done to make offices better for part-timers. 

Our research has been conducted in conjunction with Culture Amp, Women in Property and WorkingMums.co.uk. We look forward to releasing more details of the white paper and wider research in due course. A further event as part of this campaign is being scheduled and will be jointly held by Women in Property and Unispace.