As we move into a new way of living, the opportunity for truly flexible working has never been so essential.
A recent internal survey by Google found that 61% of their workers wanted to return to office working part-time, highlighting that workers who were traditionally office based seek a balance between working from home, and the sense of community, creativity and collaborative problem solving that face-to-face meeting provides.
“It is no longer realistic to expect your workforce to work 9am to 5pm, five days a week with no level of flexibility. With ever-advancing technology and more inclusive work cultures, the concept of remote working is no longer seen as just an employee perk; it in fact makes good business sense. Not only has it been proven to boost employee satisfaction and therefore retention, it can help increase productivity and boost motivation,” comments Uncommon Founder and CEO, Tania Adir.
Uncommon is a flexible workspace provider, whose spaces are carefully designed to promote a healthier way of working in an environment that evokes creativity, as well as productivity. Using innovative design inspired by Activity Based Working, curated ergonomic furniture, biophilia and sensory elements, Uncommon aims to deliver a holistic and mindful experience. With workspaces that can now be rented for as little as one day, Uncommon speaks to the workplace of the future, with a truly flexible and beneficial workspace for productivity, health and wellbeing.
With locations in Liverpool Street, Highbury & Islington, Borough and Fulham, Uncommon offers luxury co-working offices in central London locations with an emphasis on design led spaces and a focus on health and wellbeing. Uncommon sites are host to Wellness Studios, meditation pods and onsite cafe, ensuring each visit provides a greater sense of wellness and productivity, which goes beyond a laptop screen. Tania Adir, Uncommon’s Founder and CEO, oversees the design of each space, collaborating with a variety of designers, architects and suppliers from across Europe. Notably, Liverpool St, Borough and Fulham were developed in partnership with architecture and interior design practice Cousins & Cousins. In every Uncommon space, bespoke and artisanal pieces are carefully chosen, drawing inspiration from a blend of Scandinavian and Italian design with a combination of rich textures and tonal colours to stimulate focus and maintain levels of calmness.
It is essential for Uncommon to be able to provide workplaces that are comfortable and healthy to occupy. This leads the architectural, interior design, lighting and FF&E specification processes. “Ergonomics is the concept of designing in the workplace to suit the needs of the user. The fabrics, patterns and textures are very important to us and to our members’ experience and wellbeing. We use chairs that have been balanced for posture, hand-selected direct from suppliers in Italy and Spain. We also have standing desks to encourage stretching.” comments Tania Adir.
Another innovation is the use of Activity Based Working principles in the space planning and design of the interior fitout elements. When designing the spaces within the building, the design team zone the workplaces to cultivate different working environments, meaning that any work task has the perfect environment to support it. “ABW is a method, where instead of forcing individuals to carry out the majority of work on a designated desk, it encourages people to recognise that different work activities can be better supported by spaces and features designed specifically for a task,” explains Tania Adir.
The interior fixtures and furnishings of each carefully curated site are sourced from Italian and Spanish artisan designers specifically for their ergonomic qualities. Stand-out pieces at Uncommon Liverpool St include two large custom designed co-working tables from Riva 1920 cut from a single tree trunk; bespoke meeting room tables and sideboards from Cattelan; specially designed angular polished Portoro marble bars; brass and bronze detailing; smoked glass shelving; a feature fireplace made from perforated extruded metalwork and hand-crafted, walnut-clad relaxation pods.
Bespoke seating encompasses a tall Ficus tree at Uncommon Fulham, with plush velvet Designers Guild fabric, brass detail plinth and stained oak veneer edging. Acoustic chairs by la Cividinia are designed to provide a little hideaway for focused work, whilst a four-meter bespoke oak wooden table on a brushed brass metal base by Riva 1920 serves as a coworking table bringing members together at a safe distance. Plush pastel pink sofas by [Calligaris(https://www.calligaris.com/GB/en)provide firm but cosy seating options designed for team catch-ups or individual working.
Wellbeing has always been central to the design and ethos of Uncommon. Designed with biophilia at the fore; plants, natural light and materials are prominent in the spaces, and communal areas are ideal for both connection as a group, or detaching into a quiet zone for a call or to aid concentration. Uncommon Liverpool St houses a 5m Ficus benjamina tree, situated in the central atrium of the top-floor communal mezzanine space whilst at the heart of Uncommon’s Fulham site is a 3.3m Ficus nitida tree. Central to the planting design, the magnificent tree was handpicked and shipped from Holland. It is approximately 20 years old with an impressive crown, spanning 3m wide, a size rarely seen in an interior setting. The planting selected across all sites showcase a wide variety of texture, form and habit, creating an immersive and dense green space.
Tania Adir comments “we have 1,000-odd plants spread throughout the Uncommon spaces. They give a more natural feel to the space whilst also filtering the air and provide that injection of green to soften the edges, giving a more homely feel. Outside, we have zen gardens and roof terraces for unwinding and using as a space to network safely with other members when the weather permits.”
Sensory elements are thoughtfully considered throughout Uncommon workplaces and each dedicated area is fine-tuned to suit the task at hand. Tania Adir comments “the scent in a room can change the way you think, whether you want calm concentration or inspired ideas, so we infuse our spaces with scents such as lemon verbena (to promote concentration) or vanilla and cinnamon (for creativity).”
Music is highly curated to promote productivity, the light and scent fed into the workplaces are designed to promote a healthy productive environment. If a space is geared towards concentration, Uncommon has worked with music experts to curate a playlist that is slower and calmer, and with fewer lyrics as they’re often distracting. The beat of the dedicated playlists mimic the atmosphere of the days of the week; for example, Monday’s playlist starts with a calm and serene beat, which then crescendos as the week progresses and weekend approaches.
More about Uncommon.