While working remotely, businesses began to scrutinize their facility design and how people function within it. Now, as leaders bring teams back into the office, creating a thriving workplace that maintains functionality while supporting worker wellbeing requires careful consideration.
We sat down with Knoll workplace expert Amy Sell to learn what it takes to create a new office environment that supports all employees. View the original webcast, Curating Furniture Solutions with Knoll, here.
Curated furnishings and strategic space design play a large role in the new office environment.
Furniture is no longer just the chairs people sit in or the desk they set their computer on. In the new office, furniture illustrates company culture, creates brand appeal, and affects worker wellbeing. Holistic furniture and office space design is critical for efficient employee interaction between work and home environments moving forward.
The goal of the new office environment is to foster a thriving workplace. There are five key elements that catalyze success when applied to modern office design and furnishings:
Togetherness is the humanity felt when employees have a sense of belonging in the workplace. Work in the modern office is best supported by a company culture rich with togetherness. Creating spaces that attract employees and facilitate opportunities for conversations and gathering is important in developing this culture.
The new office implements togetherness by using open floorplans with strong visuals that show space usability. Using natural light and foliage within gathering areas draws out an intrinsic comfort in employees. A clean, airy aesthetic appeals to workers, encouraging engagement with teammates, further developing a culture oriented around belonging and connectivity.
Sanctuary in the workplace can be found in workspaces that provide a sense of refuge. This key element exists in the form of designated areas for individual, uninterrupted work. Employees accustomed to working alone at home may feel returning to the office is hectic. Sanctuary spaces give those employees the ability to remove themselves from workplace distractions and focus on their productivity. Knoll’s Silent Silo provides small, reconfigurable private space that can give employees a place for quiet work.
Much like sanctuary, restoration is supported by quiet spaces in the workplace. Rather than retreating to focus on work, restorative spaces offer areas for employees to recharge or get a moment of privacy. Furniture pieces with partial enclosure and visual and acoustic privacy give the sensation of seclusion, encouraging refocus.
Restorative spaces located adjacent to departmental neighborhoods allow for flexibility within the workday. Employees can use these spaces to refocus after moving between collaborative work and independent work.
The new office reflects equity by offering spaces that support a wide range of people. Creating a workplace that suits a variety of employee needs builds diversity and softens personal boundaries within a team. Integrating safe spaces for teams to come together facilitates collaboration between diverse perspectives. Workforce exposure to mixed backgrounds leads to greater creativity and innovation.
Latitude captures the inherent need for workspace flexibility. Non-fixed furnishings offer freedom of choice and reconfiguration of the environment on the fly. As personnel return to the workplace, flexibility can be supported by offering work settings with ample space for individuals and teams to move around freely. Visual cues are crucial in flex spaces as they illustrate space usage capabilities and encourage interaction between employees.
The most important element of latitude in the new office? Video conferencing spaces. Video conferencing is a key part of seamless communication between employees in and out of the office. Soft architecture in these spaces effectively absorbs sound to allow for collaboration without distraction to neighboring teams.
Each of these five elements contribute to the new office environment. When implemented collectively, a thriving workplace is born. Strategic furniture and space design will facilitate the adoption of these elements to create a thriving workplace. Spaces optimized for employee wellbeing and flexibility in communication and collaboration are absolutely critical. The livability of the physical workplace will determine how employees embrace a progressively hybrid work mode.
Contact us to discover how your facility is supporting these thriving workplace elements.