Workplace Planning for
Today and Beyond
Today’s workplace is so much more than an environment in which to work. It’s a tool that can drive organizational change, improve performance and productivity, bolster employee engagement and attract, retain and motivate talent. It’s also a strategic asset that can communicate corporate mission, branding and cultural messaging.
Creating Balance and Solutions
Such a broad agenda makes the job of planning for tomorrow’s workplace that much more complex for designers who are charged with balancing business and real estate needs while creating solutions that align with corporate mission and deliver competitive advantage.
Recently Knoll hosted members of ONE Global Design, a consortium of owner-led interior design firms in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, to discuss some of the challenges they were experiencing, trends observed and current and future design needs of their corporate clients.
Leveraging the broad geographic diversity and deep expertise of the ONE Global Design network, our discussion goals were to better understand the changing nature of work, especially the global escalation of group-based work, shared-unassigned workspaces and how organizations are planning and allocating space and using furniture to support new ever-more casual workstyles.
FIVE DRIVERS IN WORKPLACE DESIGN
Shape organization culture
Workspaces are instrumental in articulating and expressing company culture.
Attract and retain talent
Spaces are not only where clients and consultants come together, they also function as event space for on-site job fairs and presentations.
From the top down, every organization is under pressure to continually innovate to gain or maintain competitive advantage.
Right-size real estate
Virtually all companies are seeking to optimize their real estate.
Despite widespread adoption of open, collaborative office environments and a growing effort to flatten organizations, many firms still struggle with getting employees to connect outside their immediate department.
Casual and Tech-Influenced are the
Aesthetics are strongly influenced by clients’ desire to model technology companies, an industry that many clients relate to. That identity, combined with a continued shift to groupbased workstyles and casual work environments, has given rise to a preference for a more hip design sensibility.
Even traditional legacy companies increasingly view themselves in a more modern context, and want their space to reflect that ambiance, even if they can’t quite articulate it. “We just did an insurance company that decided to call themselves a technology company. Everybody is a technology company now.
“Building in flexibility via modular design and agile furniture is the best solution, since it allows an easy transition from one use to the next, such as small enclosed spaces that can be used as individual offices or meeting rooms, depending on demand.”
The New Math of Free-Address
Getting the numbers right in designing a free-address environment is not a perfect science, designers concurred. Rather, it’s akin to the software 2.0 model, which focuses on getting to market first and making adjustments later.
In the case of workplace design, that often means doing a pilot study, then refining the design before rolling it out company-wide. Continual monitoring and tweaking elements to make sure they are working optimally should follow installation.