The Future of the Workplace – a global effort is vital now.

In recent media, many articles have been written about the future of the workplace. Opinions are mixed. Ultimately, nobody knows what the future holds, but one thing’s for sure, we should all be working towards creating a sustainable future that we are proud to be part of.

The Guardian recently reported that financial institutions need to grow a conscience and “stop providing capital for the over-exploitation of our land and seas”. They went on to say, “Amid all the crises we’ve faced in 2020, we must continue to recognise the climate crisis as the defining emergency of our times, and give it the sustained attention and prominence it demands.

Here at The Busworks we are ever mindful of the environment and the vulnerability of our planet, so we are working hard to be fully sustainable by 2030. Of course, we can each do our bit, but a global effort is vital now before it is too late.

Brookfield Asset Management Inc. refer to ‘driving tomorrow’s economy with renewable power’ and in one of their featured articles, they write about ‘the adverse effects of working from home’ and offer much supporting data for the future of the sustainable office. As climate change becomes more and more of an issue, the Busworks building will be capable of producing five or six times more electricity than at present, as the south-facing roof is massive.

The Victorian over-engineering of industrial buildings has served us well.   Because the original craftsmen had to work in fine detail using natural daylight, the building is blessed by over 200 enormous windows as well as large skylights. The structure itself is therefore endlessly adaptable.   What we need to imagine is how our business adapts and continues to grow in the new world, which is fast approaching. Fortunately, the Busworks building is already sub-divided into individual spaces each with a large openable window. All of this leads to a healthy, happy place to work

We have never considered the option, but it is possible that by removing the existing roof structure, several more floors could be added. Should the world of work change as radically as some experts think it could and many more people decide to “work from home”, then it might make good sense to reverse this situation and for more people to “live where they work”.

The Busworks building could become a true “Business Hotel” with rooms and apartments to let.  There could be an element of “Co-living” with shared laundries, heating systems, and services – some of which could be provided by robots.  There is already an on-site restaurant and  theatre for large meetings, conferences as well as entertainment.   With an open car park at the rear of the building, it would be possible to construct a high-level garden with walk-ways from the main building where residents could plant their own vegetables and flowers, relax and even work on fine days.  It would resemble the famous Highline in New York or the new planted-up  bridge in King’s Cross.

The Busworks building, which already embodies so much energy, will continue to stand resiliently for many more years, adapting to whatever the future holds.

Gillian Harwood – Founder and Managing Director

The Busworks,
North Road,
N7 9DP

November 2020

About the author

Gillian Harwood started setting up her own businesses in the early 1970’s.  In 1976 she conceived the idea of refurbishing a burnt-out redundant factory in London’s Hampstead Road into “bedsitters for businesses”.  She became one of the handful of pioneers in the whole concept of Shared Workspace/Co-working/Serviced offices.  Since that first endeavour, she has been responsible for other developments such as Tideway Yard in Mortlake; The Candle and Needle Factory in Lewes, East Sussex; Forum Workspace in Chichester as well as many other smaller regeneration and employment-creation schemes.  She was also the founder and MD of The Depot Restaurant in Mortlake for 30 years.  In 1988 she won the Options-TSB Business Woman of the Year award from Margaret Thatcher.  Many of the regeneration developments have won architectural awards.  She served on the boards of CILNTEC and Business Link.  She is a Fellow of the RSA.  She is a Founding Director and current Managing Director of Busworks Ltd. Omnibus Workspace Ltd, United Workspace Ltd and Lewes Workspace Ltd