According to Rapport and Workspace Analyst Lily Bernheimer, how organisations adapt to a new generation of workers, and how you can utilise these insights to future-proof your office workspace and design will be crucial in 2020.

What impact will technology and cloud-based services have on the future office?

Technological innovation is transforming our working spaces, hours, and practices at an unprecedented rate of change. As the technology for communication, collaboration, and organisation improve, flexible and distributed working will continue to grow. But these trends are countered by the need to have high-quality spaces for face-to-face interaction when workers do come together.

Not only will these technologies have an impact on greater productivity, but the immediate and future effect of a new generation of workers vs the need for less traditional office space is a factor all businesses need to consider.

What trends or shifts do you predict with the new generation of employees?

These overall trends appear to be even more salient with the younger generation of workers. Millennials are more “fickle” (or flexible!) in their careers, quickly moving on to new opportunities if their high expectations for jobs and workplaces are not met.

International research has found that 56% of Millennials, especially those in the UK and US, preferred flexible working arrangements. Younger workers tend to want to find a job that is an expression of their identity. A workspace that allows them to express their identity is a big part of this.  

It is also important to consider the ageing population of workers. As the age of retirement increases, businesses need to be able to cater to both a new generation of workers and older workers.

Getting the balance right isn’t as difficult as it sounds; as many parallels and considerations of office design and office space can affect people of all ages equally.

Jeremy Myerson makes some valuable points in an article about ageing workers in The Guardian here.

What’s a Time and Space Utilisation study? How can it benefit businesses in the future direction of their workspace design and employee wellbeing? 

Time and Space Utilisation Study is a systematic assessment of how a workspace is used over a normal working week. Quantitative methods such as behaviour mapping and decibel measurement are combined with qualitative data to present a picture of how fully your businesses space is being utilised, and how well it is meeting individual and team working needs. Different organisations need different workspace “tools” to work at their best—a utilisation study reveals how well a workspace is performing. It identifies areas that can be made better use of, for example;

*How many hours a week are workers in the office?

*How much space is needed for different functions and teams?

*Will technological advancements reduce the need for extensive office space?

These crucial insights transform an office move or fit-out into a valuable opportunity to make the workspace support organisational performance and employee well-being.

We work closely with businesses to identify these needs based on the businesses future direction and advice best practices based on the analysis.

Working closely with Rapport’s services in this way can help make long-term financial savings and the longevity of any design or relocation of a business.

Come and speak to us about your workspace project on 01252 712590 or

The data from this article comes via the Tomorrow’s Home: Social Trends Report written and researched by Lily, in consultation with Robert Adam, Hugh Peter, ADAM Urbanism, Kurt Mueller, Grainger.

Gone are the days where Display Workstation Assessments (DSE) are carried out generically.

As more emphasis is made on workplace wellbeing and the different ways in which people are working in today’s offices, how should employers adapt an individual’s office space to maintain their wellbeing and aid productivity?

At Rapport, when relocating staff or redesigning a current workspace, we take staff wellbeing seriously by incorporating human-centered design and often carry out a workspace analysis with our Workspace Analyst Lily Bernheimer. This can mean organising employee workshops at the beginning of the process, ensuring desk space is safe to work in at the end of a project or office fit-out.

However, a DSE assessment must be carried out if you have more than five office-based employees who habitually use desktop equipment at least once a year or every six months regardless of new office space, especially if an individual is moving around or hot desking frequently.

The General Health and Safety Legislation requires employers to provide a safe place of work, taking into consideration equipment being used, systems of work and to ensure workplace wellbeing is being adhered to.

With display screen technology, such as PC’s, laptops, smartphones and tablets all now commonplace in not only our personal lives but our working lives, our exposure to these devices continues to increase. With reported levels of up to 9 hours per day spent consuming media on some form of display screen device.

While the musculoskeletal (MSD) risks through display screen devices are relatively low, the increased exposure does mean that the effects of preventable risks such as poor or fixed postures can accumulate and lead to issues. In most recent HSE statistics on MSDs show a 20% increase (2013/14) with around 80% of new work-related illnesses attributable to work conditions.

We recently interviewed the General Manager of The New York Times about her office move and touched on how the organisation manages the wellbeing of their employees,and how an individual’s personal needs and stature means today’s DSE assessments are no longer a ‘one size fits all’ exercise.

We hope you find this information useful in your own organisation.


Have the traditional ways of working in an office changed over the years?

Yes, absolutely. Sitting at a desk all day isn’t the norm these days or healthy for staff. Employees must be encouraged to stay active in the office and take regular breaks.

There is also better technology and furniture so we’ve seen a real shift in the traditional seated office and people now adopt a mixture of sitting and standing module desks because it’s better for your posture, and it’s a healthier way of working.


What do HR and facilities teams need to be mindful of when carrying out DSE assessments of an individual’s working space?

You need to look at the individual and how they work each day.

We have employees in the newsroom who stand for an hour then they sit down and work. Intermittent standing and sitting is effective and prevents pressure on the spine, and keeps the circulation going rather than being in one state all day long.


What can HR teams do to ensure employees are taking regular breaks?

Sitting your tea and kitchen areas quite close by can help people with that natural process of stepping away from their desks. If they have to walk a long way or to another floor people will just sit all day.

Our employees have easily accessible tea points and kitchenettes in close proximity to their working area. Staff are then naturally moving about and having regular and necessary breaks naturally.

You must ensure your employees stay active in the office.


Does a person’s height and stature affect a DSE assessment?

Yes, and we’ve had to source specific chairs for some people that are very tall and the seat pan of a chair has to be sufficient enough for people with larger frames in relation to your back and your knee position.

Equally, the back and headrest should support someone’s height or frame. We supply additional risers to raise the height of the desk to accommodate tall people, and also desk risers to raise the monitor screen for people, to ensure their screens meet their eye line. You’ve got to adapt to people’s different shapes and sizes. It’s about having flexible furniture.

If you’re relocating your staff to new offices, and not taking over current furniture then consult with your staff prior to ordering furniture. Make sure their wellbeing is being adhered to, especially if they have needs outside of an average worker.

We personally brought chairs in for people to try before our move last April. We were looking at two chairs and asked our staff which they preferred. We then went with the majority and purchased specific ergonomic chairs for people who needed them.

The only problem with personalised chairs is if the staff member is only with you on a short-term basis. You hope that someone else will take that specific chair to use, and that someone may then be able to release a more standard chair to someone else.


Briony Everett, Furniture Consultant from Sagal Group:

“We know that ergonomics is of paramount importance when it comes to office furniture and work wellbeing in the office.

We are seeing a big trend towards flexible furniture within office design and work closely with Rapport and other partners by selecting furniture from our portfolio that is fully adjustable to a user’s specific requirements.

We encourage all of our clients to test our furniture to ensure their utmost comfort and productivity during an office fit-out or upgrading furniture after a DSE workstation assessment with the end user in mind.”


As flexible working and hot desking become more popular, what would your advice be to people when working from home?

You give them relevant forms to do a workspace assessment and supply them with best practice guidelines for good working posture. But, it really boils down to common sense in reality and recreating what you have in an office within your home environment.

If you’re working independently or freelancing at home, then think about your time previously in an office environment.  Adapt what you have at home to what you would use in an office based on that knowledge.

Have a desk if you can and make sure your chair is supportive. You should be sitting upright. This may mean investing in risers for your PC or laptop, a suitable office chair and cushions.


Your DSE questions answered

Is a DSE the same as a VDU?

Yes. A DSE is sometimes referred to as Visual Display Units (VDU) or Computer Workstations and includes laptops, touch-screens and other similar devices that incorporate a display screen.

What items does a DSE assessment include?

Any item of computer-related equipment including the computer, display, keyboard, mouse, desk and chair can be considered part of the DSE workstation.

What does a DSE assessment form consist of?

A checklist can be used by employers to comply with the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. It lists risk factors in six areas, with ‘yes’/’no’ tick boxes: keyboards, mouse and trackball, display screens, software, furniture and work environment. It lists issues to consider and gives space to record planned action.

If your organisation doesn’t have a copy you can download an HSE copy here – HSE DSE Assessment Form


You can speak with Rapport on; 01252 712590 or email us for advice on utilising your current space, an office move,  design or fit-out at;

To view our portfolio of work click here.


Rapport’s business blog; shortlisted in the 2016 Surrey Digital Awards.

2016 Surrey Digital Awards



What does your desk say about you?

Are you messy? Obsessively tidy? Do you customise your office space?

They often say “A tidy desk, a tidy mind,” but is the working environment and design aspect of your office environment positively encouraging a workable desk policy?


Design and Workspace Analysis

At Rapport, we work closely with Lily Bernheimer, our Workspace Analyst, alongside our clients to monitor their current workspace using behaviour mapping methodologies and quantitive surveys. These methods help to identify opportunities to promote productivity, inclusivity, physical health and well-being, while anticipating future growth or consolidation needs.

The process of redesigning a space typically involves some element of behaviour change, whether it is drawing people into engaging within the urban space, encouraging them to recycle, or transitioning from a traditional office layout to hot-desking.

We leverage psychological evidence to help you plan for successful behaviour change, and make the process run smoothly by facilitating user engagement and feedback.

By collaborating with our designers to encourage desired behaviours through messaging, visual cues, and layout design, we adopt a community-based social marketing approach to behaviour change.


To read Lily’s full analysis on ‘What your desk says about you,’ head on over to the articles commissioned by Headspace in the Evening Standard and The Telegraph.


About Lily: As an environmental psychologist, consultant and researcher Lily Bernheimer has been working in human-centred design since 2007.

Her specialisms include behaviour change, agile workspaces and qualitative research.


Additional Reading With Lily Bernheimer

*Technology & Employees – How Will They Affect The Future Workplace?

*Our interview with Lily on The Future Workplace

*Rapport Launches Design & Workspace Analysis Service with Lily Bernheimer


You can speak with Rapport on; 01252 712590 or email us for advice on utilising your current space, an office move,  design or fit-out at;

To view our portfolio of work click here.


Rapport’s business blog; shortlisted in the 2016 Surrey Digital Awards.

2016 Surrey Digital Awards



Angela Seed is the General Manager within the UK office of the New York Times (NYT).

She has worked for the organisation the past eight years, and last April she handled the relocation of their office space on New Oxford Street to new offices on Museum Street, WC1A.

With a previous nineteen years under her belt as the Facilities and Administration Manager at publishing group Random House – whose offices also went through a refurbishment and relocation process in her time there – she is well versed in best practises fon office relocation and fit-out process.

We met with Angela recently to get an insight into considerations and her learnings for managing a successful design, fit-out and relocation project.

Angela, what’s the biggest consideration for HR and Facilities teams when relocating a business?

Finding a suitable property within the remit of finance. You’ve got to budget and not let costs spiral out of control. You also need to consider all the facilities aspects of your move, so looking at IT and Fit out infrastructure.

If you’re looking at properties, do you need something where the infrastructure is in situ?

Remember, especially with older buildings; you may need new cabling to keep up with the technological advancements of your business, which is what we had to do in this building. Also, Lighting and Heating probably need updating too.

This can add an additional cost, so keep a note of the facilities you require.

Be adaptable and be able to compromise on your initial blueprint and space remit.

We also had a remit of occupying one floor but the properties we saw didn’t meet with our requirements in many ways, or we didn’t like the area or the style of the building.  Therefore, when we found this building, although it was across three floors, it meant we had to split up the departments onto separate floors.   The split was actually quite easy to achieve – with the Newsroom on the first, Conferences and Marketing together on another floor and Advertising and Management on the 3rd floor.

In the end, you may have to compromise on the elements and space.

How should the future business model be taken into consideration during a relocation of fit-out project? If for example, the business has forecast that more staff will be working more flexibly in the future?

Depending on the work culture (media based organisations tend to be more flexible than corporate environments, for example) introducing flexible hours can be an incentive if it works within the business model.

If people have further to travel and have to relocate then perhaps consider more flexible working to ensure you retain staff and they receive more work-life balance after a relocation project.

Understand the direction that your organisation is heading in and find a space that takes into consideration that in years’ to come a percentage of your staff could be hot desking.

This can impact on the type of property you occupy in the future.

Some employees work from home occasionally, so for us it’s flexible, we have found that our staff benefit with both options – office and home it’s a balance of both.

How have advancements in technology impacted a fit-out or relocation over the last few years?

It’s made it much easier for us in terms of the space we now have.

During our fit-out, we had to raise the floor and lower the ceiling slightly because of the engineering of the air conditioning and under-floor cabling.

Taking account of technology advancements we installed under floor cabling, allowing us to design a better layout. It’s also tidier and hidden away as opposed to wall trunking or cables along skirting as in our previous offices, and provides faster access.

Under the floor, cabling allows for a cleaner and safer environment, and of course, new desking systems have cable trays, which means that technology and modern desking can be space saving.

How have soaring costs of London office space made an impact on businesses over the years?

We did look outside of inner London however our advertising team have relationships with their clients who are based in central London and they need to be able to meet them regularly.

South London commercial property is currently cheaper. The new Crossrail and Crossrail 2 will be a consideration for the future linking of Surrey and London.

Take into consideration any additional employee travelling expenses when they are meeting clients VS how much cheaper it is to stay in central London or a major city.

Do you have any best practise examples or learnings on any projects that you can share with us?

Again based on experience, it’s the issue of cabling. It might be the costlier option initially but installing under floor cabling and not having it on small runs or overhead.

We had options of cabling overhead or under the floor, but in the end, my advice to go with the underfloor cabling was space saving and ultimately in the long run cost effective. It’s tidier and less likely to get damaged. It’s also atheistically pleasing within the overall design.

Finally, look at the workspace available. Is it adaptable?

In our new building, we had mixed toilets on all floors.  I canvassed staff and realised that our female staff were not going to accept this, they require more privacy.  So, we made the decision to reallocate and split the toilets on the different floors rather than insist they use unisex toilets.

*Keep a look out for part 2 of our interview with Angela where we discuss employee wellbeing and HR policies during a relocation process. 

You can speak with Rapport on; 01252 712590 or email us for advice on utilising your current space, an office move,  design or fit-out at;

To view our portfolio of work, click here.

With research and reports in the press regarding the future workplace how will lifestyle changes affect the traditional workplace in years to come? To understand advancements and how these will impact employers and businesses we sat down with Lily Bernheimer, a Workspace Analyst and one of Rapport’s Associates.

As an Environmental Psychologist, Consultant and Researcher Lily’s worked in human-centred design since 2007. She works closely with Rapport on analysing workspace using behaviour mapping methodologies and quantitive surveys to identify opportunities to promote productivity, inclusivity, physical health and well-being, while anticipating future growth or consolidation needs.

Her specialisms include behaviour change, agile workspaces and qualitative research.

Lily, how will future lifestyles impact on our working lives?

We’re seeing a major shift towards individual collectivism. In terms of work, family, and transportation patterns, people are functioning more independently and flexibly but are also grouping up in new types of networks. This trend is particularly strong in our work lives, where self-employment, homeworking, freelance work, mobile working, and co-working spaces are all on the rise.

Homeworkers are multiplying far faster than traditional commuting employees, increasing by 44% between 1998 and 2014 while the commuting population grew by less than 11%. The model of going to work for one employer in a head office every day is definitely on the decline.

Will we see a decline in the need for large traditional work spaces and offices?

Smart companies are rethinking how they can enable their employees to make the best use of their time, and make the most of their physical office space at the same time. With many people spending part of their week working from home or a local co-working space, head offices may not need to be as large.

What’s the future for remote working?

It’s important to remember that transfer of work away from the traditional office does not necessarily mean it will all shift into the home. There has been particularly strong growth in the number of people using their home as a base for work while working in a variety of locations: a 50.5% increase since 1998. The greater portion of time spent working at home or elsewhere is what allows companies to do away with the notion of one desk per person—moving towards hot-desking or activity-based working.

How will transport impact future ways of working, especially in larger cities?

The feasibility of a daily commute to the nearest city is losing influence over residential choice, replaced by sporadic access to major hubs, particularly London.

Between 1995-97 and 2011, the total number of commuting trips decreased 16%, but the average length of each trip went up by 9%. On the other hand, Millennials are also favoring city living and public forms of transportation in much greater numbers than recent generations were at the same age. Taken together, this means we’re seeing an end to the 20th century model of living in a dormitory suburb and commuting to the city centre every day.

Living and working functions will become more interspersed-both within cities and further afield. 

How should employers and business’s prepare for these shifts?

Traditional employers and office managers have a lot to learn from the success of co-working spaces. Open-plan and hot desking offices need to be carefully designed to foster different areas with a sense of privacy, personal space, individuality, and account for noise issues. If these issues aren’t properly addressed, well-being and productivity can severely suffer.

How will organisations need to work with employees to provide an achievable work/life balance in the future?

It’s important to work with staff to understand their needs and working habits on an individual level, as well as on a team level. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Different personalities, work roles, and teams will have different needs, and the workspace and work structures must accommodate these. There is also a growing expectation that workspaces will have a really high design quality and offer more homely comforts.


In the New Year, we’ll be discussing, with Lily, the importance of a Time & Space utilization study and how this can save your business money, promote wellbeing with employees and increase the longevity of your office design or business relocation.


You can speak with Rapport on; 01252 712590 or email us for advice on utilising your current space, an office move,  design or fit-out at;

To view our portfolio of work click here

The data from this article comes via the Tomorrow’s Home: Social Trends Report written and researched by Lily, in consultation with Robert Adam, Hugh Peter, ADAM Urbanism, Kurt Mueller, Grainger.