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Ogilvy UK reimagines office of the future with The Yolk

Ogilvy UK claim to have reimagined the workplace for the future with the launch of a new ‘programmable’ office nicknamed The Yolk.

Housed within Ogilvy UK’s Sea Containers HQ, The Yolk is a fully flexible bespoke space designed for hybrid working and seamless creative collaboration between remote and present colleagues.

Ogilvy says that their aim is to rip up the age-old concept of the office being just a container for people, and to create a space that can be programmed for multiple uses – from quiet thinking space to brainstorming hub, client workshops to presentation theatre and everything in between – to foster collaboration, interaction, and sociability and create the perfect space to counter the ‘lockdown deficits’ of pandemic working.

Ogilvy UK appointed designers Jackdaw Studios to work with them on the project

The custom-designed space is an office within an office than can evolve in response to user interactions, with every aspect moveable into a variety of configurations that facilitate different kinds of collaborative work. Even the walls – designed as ten-foot- wide magnetic boards mounted on ceiling track – can be moved with one hand for instant display or space division, giving people total flexibility and autonomy.

The space has been christened ‘The Yolk’- in part because of its vibrant yellow colour scheme and in part because it’s where great ideas will be hatched. The Yolk is being put through its paces by Ogilvy employees who will feed back to the design teams and inform further evolution of the space.

The design was informed by an ethnographic study of what people had missed from their usual routines and what they had enjoyed about working from home. Retaining autonomy over how and when they worked, more time to spend with families and communities, and less time commuting all ranked highly. While the ideal office space would provide bespoke spaces for different styles of collaboration (brainstorms, presentations, team meetings etc.), spaces to hang out with colleagues and easy access to technology to prevent those not in the office from feeling detached from the action.

Jules Chalkley, Chief Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy UK, said: “Ogilvy’s people have been incredible during the last 18 months; onboarding new clients, inducting young employees, even remote-directing commercials – all with a bare minimum of time spent in the workplace. Nevertheless, there are essential agency activities that don’t work so well over Teams or Zoom or other remote tools – like creative workshops, project kick-offs, training and skills transfer, culture-building or the informal, interactive and social aspects of working that are crucial to any creative business.

“We identified these as ‘lockdown deficits’. The solution: The Yolk!, a fully programmable blueprint for the future of the workplace; a place for collaboration, interaction and sociability, the ‘glue’ that holds a creative business together and enables it to move forward.

“Unexpected magic happens when people are together and sharing a diversity of opinion. People rarely have their best ideas sitting behind a desk – liberating them from their desks will lead to even greater creativity.”

Victoria Day, Managing Director, Ogilvy Advertising UK, said: “Rather than insisting that the workplace returns to ‘normal’ or is abandoned altogether, Ogilvy is committed to exploring the best way back, incorporating elements of the personal autonomy that was one of the more attractive aspects of working from home, and reinventing the office as an empowering space for collaboration.

“This puts us at the forefront of the workplace revolution, taking a fresh and innovative approach not only to the solutions we create for clients, but to the way we work as a company ourselves. The workplace will no longer be built to last – it will be built to evolve.”