Vpod Talk About Purposeful Design at CDW 2023

by | Jun 05, 2023

What a week! For the second year, Vpod Smart Solutions attended the UK’s leading independent design festival, Clerkenwell Design Week, where we welcomed everyone into our newly refurbished showroom. We saw some familiar faces and indeed some newcomers as people from all different corners of the industry came to celebrate with us – so first of all, thank you so much to everyone who came.

The Vpod wizards stood ready all three days to showcase our products; the very flexible Vflex Smart Lockers were on full display, dressed in new, earthy hues to fit the tone of the showroom, and our Vgreet Visitor Management Kiosk even dressed up with a colourful display and custom buttons for the special occasion.

At CDW, we showcased our new offering of Smart Battery Locks: the VflexLite solution allows you to make your storage smart without getting new locker banks. The VflexLite smart locks can be installed to replace the locking mechanism on your existing lockers, granting keyless access, smart locker management, and useful data – a quick and lower-cost upgrade.

Vpod’s mission has always been to simplify processes and amplify experiences to make your workplace better and your work easier. Our solutions are therefore designed to tailor to the unique needs of our clients, their brand, and their people – to ensure that they fulfil their purpose.

For CDW 2023, we hosted talks by industry professionals centred on what it means to design with purpose in the modern workplace – and the modern space in general. From the proper acoustics, flexible furniture, sustainable spaces, creative colour choices, and time-saving technology, designing a liveable space for humans to thrive goes far deeper than what is seen on the surface.

How do you create a space that accommodates all the needs of the modern worker? We don’t have all the answers, but our guest speakers did their best to answer this question within their respective expertise.

Event Highlights & Key Takeaways

1. Designing for connection

Topic: The future of work: supported by technology, underpinned by data, but powered by humans.

Simone Fenton-Jarvis, the author of “The Human-Centric Workplace”, discussed the importance of the physical workplace in today’s landscape of remote workers and digital nomads.

  • Europe gets life right but works wrong as only 14% of Europeans are actively engaged in their work (source: Gallup)
  • We need to communicate the purpose of the office more clearly.
  • We need to accommodate people’s needs for community and collaboration in the physical space.
  • Technology is great, but not if it doesn’t have a purpose.

2. “Can you hear me?” – Workplace Acoustics

Topic: How acoustics affect the working environment.

Due to illness, our talk on workplace acoustics by Hanieh Motamedian was instead held by audio expert, Stanislas Boivin-Champeaux, who swooped in and delivered his insights. Where do you want the echoes, if anywhere, and how do you demystify them when they do appear?

  • 85% of people are dissatisfied with their working environment
  • Staff lose 86 minutes per day due to noise distractions
  • The perceived level of distraction directly related to the intelligibility of the overheard conversation

3. Unf*ck Work with Neil Usher

Topic: The need to find a better balance between alpha and beta work.

What is alpha and beta work? Workplace expert and author, Neil Usher, followed up on Simone’s previous points about hybrid working – and why it isn’t always working.

  • Alpha work is the work we do every day. The tasks we think of when we think about working; are clear-set guidelines and deadlines. During the pandemic, we discovered that most alpha work can be done efficiently from home.
  • Beta work is driven by creativity: it’s the time we spend planting seeds of progress with co-workers. Beta work takes longer and is often slow, even inefficient, but it is where innovation lives. This type of work largely requires face-to-face interactions to build trust and a mutual understanding of goals.

A fully remote workforce can complete alpha work just fine, but can they grow a company? Without the spontaneous meetings, sparking new ideas through beta work? If organisations don’t recognise the difference between alpha and beta work, they might be stunting their growth.

4. Why the New Black is Green Business

Topic: What does it mean to run a sustainable business?

Michael Martin, Head of Net Zero & Advice Team at Wenta, and Cristiana Ionescu, founder of the green business CI Design, talked about how to maintain a profitable and sustainable business. Some say that the best thing for the planet would be to not exist as a company. However, society has to continue to evolve and change in order to exist.

  • Sustainability sells – it is becoming a fundamental part of being an authentic business
  • Turn down opportunities to avoid “greenwashing”
  • Talk to suppliers, delivery and install companies to understand their carbon footprint, as this factors into your own
  • Fit the carbon emissions calculations and net zero goals around being a healthy business

5. The Individuality of Colour

Topic: The importance of colour, and how it impacts the people using your space.

Colours are far from a neutral design choice. Cristiana Ionescu explained that with a holistic approach to colour, rooted in colour psychology, experience and employee/community consultation, we can create more culturally inclusive and intuitive spaces.

  • Colours stimulate our minds, and moods, and help regulate emotions
  • “Adult spaces” don’t have to be all white and colourless; in fact, colourful surroundings have positive effects
  • Perceptions of colour are subjective; depending on social identity, history, and culture
  • Saturation, contrast, and brightness is an equally important consideration in choosing the colour itself

6. Podcast, Pizza, and Prosecco

Topic: How do we make hybrid working work better?

At the end of the week, Simone Fenton-Jarvis sat down with Ian Baker, Head of Workplace at EMCOR, for a live podcast discussing what works, what doesn’t, and what we can do to fix it. If you’re interested in this topic [here’s a link to the podcast / we’ll put the link to the podcast here once it’s released].

We finished off in the best possible way: with lots of pizza, great people, and a good glass of prosecco (or two).


To everyone who came by the Vpod showroom, thank you SO much for your support and engagement! Equally, to all our partners and the Vpod team who made everything possible, thank you for making our second year at CDW truly memorable.

We look forward to participating in more events to share our expertise and showcase our solutions for the modern workplace. See you all soon!

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