The SMART choice: a quiet revolution at work

Mon, May 16, 2022

From the outside, apart from differences in architectural design, office buildings may seem like they haven’t evolved to move with the times. Yet internally, a quiet revolution has been taking place.

If we chart the history of office building design, it clearly correlates with the wider societal changes in our culture, technology and the way we work.

The first office designs were all about maximising and monitoring employees’ output with ‘face-forward’ rows of desks and seats more akin to a production line.

Then, who could forget the ‘cubical farm’ style of layout where employees were visually separated from colleagues in tall fabric dividers? Not a great way to encourage communication and collaboration.

The next move was more revolutionary. As well as a surge in technological advances, employers took more notice of their employees’ wellbeing and need for interaction which gave rise to the open plan office.

Now, in modern offices, we have an eclectic mix of workspace on offer. From hot desks to standing desks, and from break-out spaces to self-contained office pods, businesses understand that the focus is very different today. The aim is to create a space where people feel inspired, appreciated and comfortable, so they can produce the best work possible. 

The smart choice

In addition to the physical shifts in design and layout, offices are also undergoing less obvious, but no less beneficial, technological enhancements.

A ‘smart’ digital workplace uses the IoT (internet of things); physical objects with processing ability, software, and other technologies that connect and exchange data, to improve the efficiency of a building and, in turn, its occupants.

The user experience is central and the outcomes also improve the environmentally friendly credentials of the office. For example, sensors monitor how rooms are being used and automatically respond by maintaining air quality, automatically controlling lighting, and regulating temperatures.

Digital building intelligence also helps people find the right spaces for their tasks, for example desk and room bookings. All of these things are connecting the human and the building and creating optimum conditions for productivity.

A personalised office experience

Not only has the way we work changed beyond recognition from 50 years ago; the physical workspace has also responded to these societal transformations.

While trends tend to come and go and the future history of office design continues to be written, one thing is certain; the office experience will become more bespoke and tailored to the individual. Smart business will locate in smart buildings that put people first.

Ideal for the next generation of technology disruptors and innovators, the new 85,000 sq ft Dirac Building and neighbouring Transport Hub forms the next phase of development at St John’s Innovation Park in North Cambridge.

The Dirac Building has been designed with ‘intelligent building’ and ‘smart office’ best practice principles in mind; utilising technology and process to create a safer and more productive environment for occupiers, in addition to greater operational efficiency.

The development is aiming to be best-in-class, with a WiredScore ‘Platinum Certification’ already achieved and a target of a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.

Owned by St John’s College in Cambridge, St John’s Innovation Park provides a thriving working environment for innovative R&D, technology and life science companies.

Already home to an exciting community of organisations including Samsung, Qualcomm, DarkTrace, Raspberry PI, PwC, Mewburn Ellis and IESO Digital Health, the Park is an integral part of the North Cambridge research and development cluster.

For information regarding pre-let opportunities at the Dirac Building, please contact Savills, the appointed letting agents, on 01223 347 000.

Discover more about St John’s Innovation Park and the Dirac Building here.

Get in touch

Park Management

Carl Williams
T: +44 (0)1223 347 066

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Innovation Centre

Miranda Edwards
T: +44 (0)1223 420 252

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William Clarke
T: +44 (0)1223 347 294

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