“Humans like and need social interaction.”
“Perhaps in post-Covid UK, we will live in the city centre and commute to jobs in the suburbs.”
How and where are we going to be living and working?
There is the growing trend of WFH:
And there is the redesigning of our spaces:
Here is the latest from one of our correspondents, looking at how work ‘pods’ might function as an alternative to working from home:
[In the early 1980s] the trend was to do away with offices based on seniority, and for open-plan offices to provide space appropriate to the requirements of the job. It’s interesting to see then in the Guardian article that the same sociology which drove the open office still recognises that humans like and need social interaction. In that case, the pods would only work if there are social spaces where folk can mingle and chat:
“The media is awash in studies declaring that offices are good for us after all. They promote social diversity and informal contacts, offering relief from relationship claustrophobia in “getting out of the house”. Management ideology has long identified “the company” with its headquarters, its physical presence and hierarchy. The New Scientist reports the boss of Microsoft worrying that unmonitored home working will eat into the “social capital” built up in an office environment. Zoom cannot replace the gossip of “those two minutes before and after” a meeting. We know that from TV’s The Office.”
Would pods work in Sidmouth? Pod structures cost more to develop than say a Regus Office or business centre. The issue for any developer looking at, say an old bank building here, is whether people would be prepared to commute from residential Exeter and its environs to Sidmouth, preferring to work here. My guess is that the social lure of Exeter’s city centre and Quay would be preferred by young working professionals looking for a social life and active leisure.
Another correspondent looks at the development of the pod in the Japan of the 1970s:
The late Kurokawa Kisho, was the original capsule architect. His pods are attached to a frame superstructure and were meant to be dismountable for weekend vacations in the countryside.
Nowadays so much of construction is made up of prefabricated units eg toilet suites, kitchens, studios pads etc and more pods are likely. It suggests such containers will become the habitat furniture of the future, and I suppose this is already happening in new-builds even in the Sid Valley.
Perhaps in post Covid UK we will live in the city centre and commute to jobs in the suburbs, so its possible I suppose Exeter folk will work Sidmouth? Thankfully East Devon is not yet Greater Tokyo, but there are many environmental advantages to prefabs.
Finally, something perhaps ‘more Sidmouth’?
Britain’s iconic red public telephone boxes are about to be given an interesting makeover by a New York-based company that operates a growing chain of co-working spaces aimed at entrepreneurs who are looking for affordable convenient workspace in attractive locations.
Bar Works Inc is about to launch “Pod Works” in London, Leeds and Edinburgh using old BT telephone boxes as mini-work stations for both entrepreneurs who are constantly on the move or for those who need a convenient place to work before a meeting or an interview.
Each “Pod” will have Wifi and internet connections, printer/scanner, wireless mouse, a 25-inch screen, a hot drinks machine and a powerbank of plugs.