As we tentatively emerge into a post-lockdown world after 16 months working from home, our behaviours, expectations and values are all looking a little different. Pearson Lloyd is in the midst of an ongoing exploration into Spatial Intelligence – a term used to describe an enhanced understanding of the co-dependent relationships between people, the spaces they inhabit and the products they use. Our investigation considers the demands of space and the needs of its users following the pandemic – unpicking new behaviours, rituals and habits. This research has naturally led us to what we call the ‘new ergonomics of space’. Across all walks of life, at work, at home, on the move and at play, sometimes subtle and sometimes rapid, extreme shifts in behaviour have been inflicted on us all by the pandemic. Some of these changes will be temporary and some permanent; some disturbing and difficult to adapt to, others welcome and surprising.
Understanding these shifts give us an opportunity to rebalance and rethink the way we conduct our lives, the nature of the city and the purpose of work. In the realm of the ‘knowledge economy’, the perception of what constitutes work and how we generate wealth is utterly different from what it was just one generation ago. From the repetitive nature of manual data processing that defined work for much of the 20th century, to the 21st-century demands of innovation, problem solving, business models and customer experience, the change is absolute. Data and technology systems and services are now the servant to interactions in search of human capital. Added to this, the seismic shifts in our daily lives inflicted upon us by the pandemic have called into question the very nature of work and how we do it. In a matter of months, the location, tools and timing of its delivery are suddenly in flux.