Behind the Scenes
This month, Director William Mayes gives us a glimpse into life behind the scenes at Layrd Design and the impact of coronavirus on workplace design.
Let’s set the scene. Can you tell us about a typical day at Layrd Design?
There’s no such thing as a typical day! I don’t stick to a rigid 9-5 schedule because flexibility is important to me, not least because I have a new-born baby. Flexible working practices allow me to combine work and family time throughout the day.
On another note, things have also changed since lockdown. Before coronavirus, my days were split between the office, client meetings and site visits. Now meetings take place on Zoom or Microsoft Teams from my home office. It’s a big change!
Was your business affected by Covid-19?
Yes. Unfortunately building sites across the country shut for seven weeks, which was a blow. Although projects are now back up and running, it’s still affecting us; supplies and materials are hard to source and will be for the rest of the year.
We're rearranging projects to make sure we hit deadlines. Communication with clients and contractors is key.
Are new office interior trends developing as a result of coronavirus?
There are some changes. The biggest requirement right now is a fresh air supply in every room. Clients want constant air circulation, which wasn’t as much of a concern before.
Co-working spaces are also becoming more important. More people are working remotely and their homes aren’t set up for that – or for social interaction. Co-working spaces are meeting that need for a flexible, collaborative workspace away from home.
To serve that need, co-working spaces have to introduce social-distancing measures to keep users safe.
Are there any other trends in commercial design that we should be aware of?
Businesses want to make the workplace a destination for employees; somewhere people want to work.
There’s a fine balance between allowing social interaction and maintaining social distance. People miss the social aspects of their workplace, so it can be hard to return if there’s no atmosphere. As designers, we are seeking solutions to that conundrum.
Tell us about Well Practitioner certification.
It’s about creating positive workspaces. Well Practitioner accreditation – and a genuine focus on wellness – is a growing trend in the United States, because it helps organisations attract and retain employees by placing health and wellness at the core of designs.
To gain accreditation, we must demonstrate our understanding of a broad spectrum of different factors, from fitness, ergonomics and airflow to lighting and sustainability. It will be hard work, involving both real-world applications of wellness principles and a two-hour exam, but it emphasises our dedication to employee wellbeing to future clients.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
Collaboration. A lot of interior design practices take the brief away, design something, then reveal it to the client.
My approach is more collaborative. I'll go away and do some initial research before booking in more client meetings for further discussions, so I can add depth to the brief. I involve clients throughout the project so we get it right first time.
Need an office overhaul?
Drop Will a line at email@example.com, or call 01223 952992 to discuss your needs.