Flexibility And Lighting Matter For Office Design Business

March 26, 2018 7:11 am by admin
Important for businesses to become attuned to their needs or risk paying the hefty price of replacing them which averages 25000 a usa report found
Boss designs atom furniture collection makes every space matter
Flexibility And Lighting Matter For Office Design Business

The paper, Ethonomics: Designing For The Principles Of The Modern Workplace–authored by Teknion, in collaboration with design expertslike Joan Blumenfeld, principal of Perkins+Will, one of this year’s Most Innovative Companies–revealed that the workplace is ripe for reinvention.

Dave Sylvester, chief financial officer, says feedback from his team is “off the charts.” Half of his staff is mobile, choosing shared benching workspaces as their daily home bases, and 62 percent report their workplace helps attract and retain employees.

At the same time, we were approaching our 100th anniversary and faced the same dilemma as many other companies: excess real estate. In some parts of the world major organizations took it as far as to ask, ‘If people can work anywhere, do we really need offices anymore?’

“Changing buildings is not enough, technology alone won’t get it done, and inspiring workspaces don’t create change on their own,” says Ludwig. “But they help make change possible. These spaces make sharing information faster and co-creating better. They help people to connect with the brand, the organizational culture and each other.”

This was the driving force behind our reinvention project, dubbed Connect 12 internally, a multi-year odyssey to reinvent the headquarters campus and help employees from around the globe to be physically and virtually more connected. We chose our 100th anniversary in 2012 as a rallying point for change. The project would reinvent existing buildings on our main campus, including former manufacturing facilities, plus off-load unused real estate and create an interconnected global network of spaces. These spaces would challenge the purpose of the workplace and test new ways of working. “We set out specifically to use the work environment to improve employee engagement and retention, to boost internal communication and renew our company culture,” says Hughes.

In the face of an economic crisis, the first thing business leaders think about is rarely their offices. Unless, of course, it’s on a list of things that can be cut to save money. Which is what a lot of companies were doing in 2009 just after they watched well-established organizations collapse around them. There was a lot of uncertainty everywhere, and Steelcase, which serves many Fortune 500 companies, had a front-row seat to the chaos.

At its essence, the “best place” concept is about supporting the wellbeing of employees in a holistic way, considering emotional and cognitive needs as much as physical ones. There is a range of spaces that support focused work, collaboration, learning, socializing and rejuvenation. For example, if employees have a task that requires deep focus and concentration, they can perform better cognitively if the space supports that mode of work. Routine tasks don’t create the same cognitive load and can be done in areas where there is more stimulation and interaction. People are also free to choose the kind of space in which they want to work based on their emotional frame of mind. Sometimes people crave interaction and want to be in the middle of activity and other times they need more solitude. Physically, people need to move throughout their day and change postures—not just to sit or stand, but also to lounge or perch. Movement is essential to maintaining energy levels and stamina. And all three aspects of wellbeing—physical, cognitive and emotional— are essential to building a high level of employee engagement.

Group spaces rule here. Project rooms occupy 40 percent of the footprint, while “front porches” and “back alleys” support a variety of small group work activities.

Arna Banack, a cultural anthropologist who works with us, says workspace affects many aspects of culture. “Space can have a direct impact on communication, collaboration, how employees understand the company’s mission and strategy, how they represent the brand, and much more.”

Workspaces ‘learn,’ adapt and better support culture change only if people support it. By benchmarking the company culture at the onset of the project, we can measure how our culture is evolving and adapt spaces as needed.

“To help us develop a workplace strategy that could help the company achieve its goals, we used our user-centered research, design and development process. By surveying people from all levels of the company, conducting workshops, capturing insights and data from ethnography and sensor technology, as well as spending countless hours just observing people, we were able to gauge what was working and what wasn’t.”

Jim Keane, President and Chief Executive Officer, Steelcase Inc.

I have access to the right technology and tools for my group/team work

It was a tipping point for our company. When our leadership team reviewed the real estate strategy and presented the financial argument, it was an easy decision on those terms alone. Real estate and costs would be reduced by half. From a numbers perspective, it was an easy call.

There are a variety of spaces available that meet the needs of my many different daily activities

The strategy was quickly boiled down to a catchphrase that captured its essence: “best place.” It encapsulated the plan to create a campus environment with an ecosystem of spaces that support diverse activities and work style preferences. The new spaces would not only support employees in more mobile work styles, they would actually attract them. “The ‘best place’ is where you want to work because you have a choice about when and where and how you work,” says Cherie Johnson, director of global design for Steelcase. “Our goal was to democratize the space so that anyone could work anywhere.”

Steelcase leaders see tangible, bottom-line benefits. “Our sales support groups have been able to absorb double-digit growth in our business two years in a row, without increasing staff. It’s not more hours. It’s just easier to get things done now, to connect, collaborate and make decisions more efficiently,” says Eddy Schmidt, senior vice president.

“This past year Steelcase reported its best year since we began to feel the impact of the economic downturn in 2009. We didn’t just survive the global recession—we came out of it healthier, stronger and ready for the future.

A. A company’s culture is much more important than the size of the business. Do you allow employees to work remotely? Are you open to flexible workstations, which allow multiple workers to use a single surface during different times of the day? Before committing to a design, it is often best to consider the factors that are most important to your culture, goals and employee satisfaction. 

A. The pervasiveness of technology is continuing to transform the workforce and influence office behavior. Workers are now more mobile and want to plug in and work from a variety of locations. This means companies can consider reducing the amount of space they need for fixed workstations. 

It may be tempting to use a recession as a time to hunker down, but instead we reinvented ourselves, accelerated change, and invested in our future. For example, we invested in our brand, globalized our product platforms and worked towards becoming a globally integrated enterprise.

© 1996 – 2018 Steelcase Inc. is the global leader in office furniture, interior architecture and space solutions for offices, hospitals and classrooms. Our furniture is inspired by innovative research in workspace design.

A pilot group of 80 employees received laptops, smartphones and training for a mobile workstyle. Later the group helped other employees prepare for the change of going mobile. “It wasn’t management telling employees how things would work, it wasn’t HR, it was their peers,” noted Wolfe. “People responded very positively to that.”

Environments incorporating media:scape technology allow employees from around the world to be physically and virtually more connected.

Project studios in the Innovation Center connect distributed team members around the world. The Innovation Center is a prototype to test new ways of working and was driven by Steelcase’s need to connect their globally distributed product development teams.

“I’m a strong believer that if you organize your work environment with color, it will help your thoughts be more organized and colorful,” says Miller. He cites several studies that color boosts happiness, productivity and creativity. “We’re seeing more offices integrate pops of color in unexpected ways and therefore strive to be at the forefront of offering a wide color spectrum of accessories and furniture,” Miller explains.

Changing company culture is difficult. The physical environment is not the only influencing factor, and Steelcase leaders recognize there’s work to be done on other fronts.

You might think that the reams of analysis done on office space would have by now turned every workplace into a humming hive of engagement and productivity. Earlier this year, we even got an advance look at a research paper that outlined alternative design strategies to make workers happier.

The insights gathered from these activities were used to build behavioral prototype spaces to test the new work environments and help employees understand the impact of the changes. Some groups were asked to live in the prototype spaces to help validate the design direction.

We challenged ourselves to use our real estate strategy to do more than just cut costs. We viewed it as an opportunity to optimize our real estate at our Global Headquarters campus in Grand Rapids, Mich., by activating space that as relatively unused before, as well as use our workplace strategy to accelerate the evolution of our culture.

Delfino says he’s seeing an increased emphasis on using varied materials throughout the workplace to create environments that influence wellness and productivity. “Products with a rich material vocabulary provide designers with the opportunity to be original and bold—to use color and texture to create a more varied, inspiring and personalized work environment,” he says.

Scott Lesizza, principal at Workwell Partners says one of his clients’ most requested solutions is help with eliminating wires and clutter from desktops and conference rooms. “Between wires, laptops and other electronic devices, to docking stations, paperwork and personal items, there are many things that can make a room full of open desks appear very disorganized,” says Lesizza. Even a $30,000 conference table can look terrible if wires are not well concealed within the table, he observes. “Luckily we are seeing more manufacturers develop solutions that are clean and simple,” he says.

For many businesses, managing or designing space isn’t a core competency, and many look to a flexible workspace provider who can provide an on-demand, customized solution that enables all of their employees the benefits of flexible working. Regus is the world’s largest provider of flexible workspace with more than 3,000 locations globally, and every day we see companies from startups to major corporations who use this flexible concept to accommodate the rising trend of mobile employees and who are thinking ahead to when they might need to scale their business up or down.  

Approaching the New Year seems like as good a time as any to say out with the old walls that block natural light, separation of departments, major investments in public spaces at the expense of the back office and other design elements that bum workers out, and in with creative solutions that bring people together in ways they can be at their best.

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And finally, we’ll see more bioliphic design. We’ve already talked about the importance of natural light. Companies understand that access to nature increases employee happiness, well-being and productivity. With that in mind, you can expect to see more outdoor green space, indoor gardens and perhaps even paths specifically created for walking meetings being incorporated into office designs. 

Team members, including designers, researchers, product marketers, engineers and other staffers, keep in touch daily via telepresence. To avoid the typically formal and often awkward videoconference, employees can choose from a variety of configurations for their project rooms with café tables, lounge chairs and other furniture so participants can stand, sit, perch or walk around. Close-ups and one-on-one exchanges make gestures and facial expressions clear and help improve understanding. Plus, each project room also has space where people can break away from active collaboration but stay nearby to rejoin as needed. It all makes for videoconferences that are informal, collaborative and productive.

The center also includes R&D labs, a prototype studio, guest interaction rooms, mobile neighborhoods, enclaves and a café. “It gives people the variety of spaces and tools they need, yet the floor plate is simple and designed for evolution. We allow the campus spaces to ‘learn’ with the people who use them, and that makes for more resilient real estate,” says Johnson.

Spaces that had previously been used for dedicated workstations could now be used for different types of work environments to support both focus and collaborative work, as well as the social needs of people. This change enabled the company to bring employees together in less space and, at the same time, give them more choice and control over where and how they work. For example, a 24,000 square-foot (2,230 square-meter) wing of the headquarters building that originally housed only one department was gutted and rebuilt for three groups: finance, procurement and quality. Another wing was similarly reinvented for sales support staff, bringing together teams that had never been able to be collocated before. It also incorporated videoconferencing spaces that allowed people to work informally with remote teammates on a daily basis. Both floors can serve more people now that employees can choose from workspaces anywhere on campus.

We knew the office was changing, but it wasn’t going to go away. While we had to free up excess space, we looked at the problem through a different lens. We believe that, more than ever, people need places where they can come together, feel connected and build a strong sense of purpose.

Lesizza says nature is having a serious moment in design. Reclaimed wood panel installations, exposed concrete flooring, and incorporating natural flora patterns in fabrics and artwork are all becoming more prominent, along with plant life itself in the form of living walls, he says. “Some of our favorite pieces and projects from the last year take a page from this trend, and also go hand in hand with one of the bigger trends: bringing the home into the office,” says Lesizza. “It’s the natural, cozy feeling that a lot of these finishes and details have that will continue to make this trend a popular one throughout 2016.”

Five years after initial planning for the new corporate campus, no one is surprised by the results. “It’s changed how we live and work as an organization. It’s that simple and that profound,” says Ludwig.

WorkCafé offers the functionality of a well-planned office with the vibe of a neighborhood pub. Outdoor spaces allow for rejuvenation and socialization, as well as real work. A New Office, Every Day

A. Flexible workspace design is effective for every business at any stage of development. A 2017 Gallup survey showed that 43 percent of employees are working away from team members at least some of the time. Therefore, one key factor to consider is ensuring there is flexible space. This can take shape in numerous ways including workstations that convert into standing desks or having areas that can serve as meeting rooms and lounges. 

“We recommend to every company interested in culture change to build a WorkCafé and to build it first,” continues Johnson. “It set the tone for the rest of our campus reinvention by giving everyone the opportunity to experience what democratizing the space means, in a collective way, before anyone had their own personal spaces changed. It reflects the culture and behaviors we want people to adopt.”

A. Incorporating artificial intelligence into office design and the overall discussion of “smart offices” are hot topics right now. How will these technologies be integrated into the workspace and what will they monitor and control? Inevitably, these technologies will become more integrated and the data that these smart devices capture are going to further shape workspace design and office efficiencies. 

Knowing the significance of providing a workplace that makes employees feel comfortable and productive, organizations need to put considerable thought into how their offices are designed and constructed. Few know more about just how important this is than Michael Berretta, vice president of network development for IWG, owner of Regus and Spaces and the largest portfolio of workspace providers. 

The Nourishment bar and its surrounding work areas help people reenergize and shift between different modes of work. Global Connection

WorkCafé combines open and enclosed spaces for small and large groups, individual workspaces, a cafeteria and coffee bar. It offers the functionality of a well-planned office with the vibe of a neighborhood pub. Here people meet, work, network, socialize and reenergize. “This space exemplifies what we mean when we talk about democratizing the space,” says Johnson. “It’s not a place where people reside; they’re hosted here. You can be comfortable, productive or social for a while, switch between work and respite, collaboration and private time.”

But as a leadership team we said we wouldn’t do it if it didn’t shape the culture of the company. It was the most important reason to do this project then, and it remains the most important one today. Employees are together on one campus where they can easily connect with their colleagues, their work and the organization. There is a buzz that just wasn’t there a couple of years ago. It’s undeniable.

It’s also important to take lighting into account. A study conducted by the American Society of Interior Designers showed that 68 percent of employees were dissatisfied about the lighting situation in their offices. Natural lighting not only affects how well we can see, but it can also boost mood and energy levels. Natural light is by the far best, but if it’s challenging to find or incorporate windows into the space, think about using lamps that can provide indirect lighting and help reduce glare. 

A. Experts across the board agree that office design directly affects employee health, well-being and productivity. The physical surroundings can shape employee behaviors and attitudes toward their employer and experiences at work. As such, the design of a workspace is becoming a key component in talent retention and recruitment.

My workplace helps facilitate communication between employees

Lesizza observes that in his 20 years in the design business, he’s never seen change happen so quickly. “Not only are cubicles disappearing,” says Lesizza, “but now their replacement–the bench–is being overtaken by non-assigned seating.” The executive suite is still not playing to this trend, however; multipurpose spaces can be utilized for everything from multimedia presentations to casual breakout areas. “We’ll also see more oval-shaped office desks, which allow for a more convenient place for 4-6 people to meet, as well as a shift toward height adjustable tables for standing meetings,” he says.

Workers are looking for a space that maximizes productivity while fueling creativity and inspiration. Employers realize there is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to office design. Today’s workforce needs a blend of collaboration and concentrated, heads-down work areas. Offering a range of spaces gives employees the ability to move freely to their desired locations throughout the day, enhancing creativity, engagement and overall productivity. 

The Innovation Center serves almost 300 local employees and distributed colleagues around the world. Since three-quarters of our product development projects are global and we have design studios on three continents, the center exemplifies how places can shape a global, integrated enterprise.

Q. For years, cubicles were prominent in most offices. In recent years, open space took hold. Why does it now seem that there is demand for more of a blended open/private workspace? 

We recently had the chance to speak with Berretta about office designs and what organizations should consider when planning out what their workplace should look like. 

Fine-tuning—reconfiguring a space here, changing a furniture application there—has helped, too. We learned that people needed more spaces for private conversation and focused work, and those changes have been made. Project teams also needed more spaces they could own for the life of a project, so more “we/owned” spaces were added. No one knows how creative knowledge work will change in the future, so our workplace is intended to be tested, and can evolve as needed.

With this mobility in mind, technology itself needs to be flexible. Can you easily switch out equipment and wiring? How many power stations are available and do you have wireless charging technology? Is your Wi-Fi on a secure network? These are questions everyone from C-suite to human resources to startup teams are asking as they plan out office design. 

Engagement, a measure of how well employees feel a sense of shared purpose, has also improved. “It was a strength in 2010 and it’s an even greater one now. That unites the company,” says Banack.

Q. When designing an office, which factors are most important to consider? 

Two years after we began reinventing our spaces, here’s a look at what we did and what we’ve learned along the way.

Michael Berretta, IWG vice president, says when designing a new workplace, flexibility and lighting are crucial factors.

Q. What negatives can come from a poorly designed workspace? 

Another newly repurposed place on our headquarters campus is the Innovation Center which, like all of our spaces, is a prototype to test new ways of working. It was driven by the organization’s need to thrive in a fiercely competitive global economy. “We wanted to confirm our belief that ideas get even better when we have a team that is not only diverse professionally or ethnically, but also geographically. People who come to the innovation process immersed in the sights and sounds of other cultures bring a deeper layer of insight to the problem at hand,” says Johnson.

Workspace flexibility is going to become even more prevalent. In the past, the idea of shared space has been associated with entrepreneurs and small business owners. Now that research has shown the value of community and creative clustering, we’ll start seeing larger organizations shifting toward a flexible workspace and design model. 

Before the campus reinvention, 95 percent of residents in our global headquarters had assigned desks. But given the mobile nature of work today, not all employees needed or wanted an assigned workstation. The assigned workstations that sat empty much of the time were not allowing that real estate to be fully leveraged and also impacted the outlook of employees – sitting among empty cubicles feels isolating and drains people’s energy without them even realizing it. Yet some people’s jobs required them to be at their desks most of the time, and they needed their own workspaces. To help identify which employees should shift to mobile work, we asked for volunteers. “It was important that employees felt like they had a voice in the decision, and that their voice was heard,” said Johnson. Not surprisingly half of the employees chose to give up their dedicated desks, knowing they would have greater flexibility.

Our feedback loop uncovered that after the first wave of changes we needed more places for people to focus and concentrate. So we added more individual enclaves near collaboration spaces.

Q. Should the size of your business impact how you design it? 

At Regus, we look at flexible workspace as a competitive advantage to businesses of all sizes. You have growth options without the commitment of a long-term lease. A company might begin their journey with just two people but expand to 10 people or more; or they might need to test out a new market before they hire a workforce or they want to situate employees closer to suppliers for part of the work week. And, of course, there is the added benefit of the space taking care of the core logistics (such as Wi-Fi and communal amenities) so you can focus on that growth. 

Introducing the new workplace strategy with a space like the WorkCafé was unusual, compared to the more conventional approach of focusing on individual workspaces first, but it clearly worked.

Steve Delfino, vice president of Corporate Marketing and Product Management at Teknion says the community table reflects a cultural moment. “People are looking for more interaction at work and in other public settings, including restaurants and hotels where large shared tables are making an appearance,” he observes. But the community table has been a meaningful object for centuries, a symbol of kinship or alliance that is now becoming an important part of the work environment, Delfino adds. “Today, the table emerges as a relevant feature of an evolving workplace that now exhibits many of the characteristics of a domicile—more relaxed, more congenial and collaborative,” he says.

Finally, consider outsourcing the design aspect and moving into an already existing, built-out space. There are instant cost savings benefits – such as eliminating the need to purchase furniture and investing in Wi-Fi and communal amenities – but there are longer term savings as well. You don’t need to commit to a long-term commercial lease and you will have a network of offices to tap into as your business grows. 

Workspaces should flex to provide a variety of spaces and destinations for workers to inhabit that promote movement throughout the day. While many companies are doing a good job of incorporating some of these elements into their workplace design, there’s a need for more awareness and implementation of this way of thinking holistically about the workplace.

Our new spaces help people connect with the brand, the culture and each other. Driving Change

Positive changes are already apparent. Measurements of how well we make our vision a reality for employees has improved dramatically. Work spaces better reflect the company mission and purpose. “Some of our environments hadn’t been renovated in years, so business changes got ahead of how well some spaces performed and allowed our employees to perform,” says Johnson. “Employees can’t live the brand values if they’re not immersed in them. Our spaces now reflect the new Steelcase: user-focused, innovative, the product of design thinking.”

I have access to quiet, more secluded places for focused work and/or private conversations.*

I’ve worked more than 20 years in the workspace design industry and I can honestly say that a poorly designed work environment will have a significant impact on the bottom line of a company in the form of less productivity, creativity and more employee turnover. 

I am pleased with the views I have from the spaces I work most often

This was a very different way of working and it required managers and employees to better understand what this meant. “We used a series of engagements and online resources to help managers learn to lead differently, to set objectives and measure performance instead of counting heads and measuring seat time,” says Steve Wolfe, director of corporate human resources.

Q. When considering wall colors and designs, are there a certain colors or patterns that best helps foster innovation? 

I have access to spaces that support the sharing and exchanging of ideas

Our new work environments have changed us as an organization. It’s obvious to everyone, including visitors to our spaces who tell us they can sense the essence of our culture and brand through the space. And they are just as interested in learning more about that as they are in our furniture.

By rethinking its real estate strategy, Steelcase was able to reduce the actual footprint of our corporate headquarters campus by 48% and our environmental footprint at the same time. But, more important, the results of pre- and post-Workplace Satisfaction Surveys indicate the impact the changes have made on people, processes and culture is far more valuable.

We hear from businesses every day that they are rethinking their traditional office leases and are using technology to their advantage. This decision often leads to significant cost savings. In some cases, technology is so seamless and reliable that companies are offering remote work days as a real employee benefit, helping to reduce commute times and retain top talent. 

We talked to the design experts at Teknion, Poppin, a manufacturer of workplace furniture and accessories, and Workwell Partners, a design firm specializing in creating efficient spaces to see what they predict are the most useful trends for 2016. Here’s what they told us.

The look, feel and setup of your office may have a bigger impact on your bottom line than you think. Research has shown that workplace lighting, colors and flexibility all impact employee productivity, engagement and happiness. 

New work environments support a range of postures. Movement is physically energizing and mentally stimulating. Support for varied postures, along with more natural light in workplace interiors, an outdoor patio and other connections with nature, are some of the ways Steelcase leverages real estate to support employee wellbeing.

Q. Are there any workspace design trends in 2018 businesses should be aware of? 

*The survey results identified the need to balance more private spaces with collaboration settings and Steelcase has since added additional enclaves and other private spaces to the company campus.

It was with that backdrop that we made a tough decision. Rather than simply cut excess real estate as a survival tactic, the company was looking further ahead. “We had our sights set on a major change, a paradigm shift. Not only in space, but also in technology, work process and culture,” says John Hughes, principal of applied research & consulting, our workplace consulting practice at Steelcase. “The struggle to effectively align strategy, brand and culture is a concern we hear about regularly from company executives around the world. We were like so many other organizations and we chose to invest our resources toward that mission, rather than wait out the recession.”

“Innovation is a physical activity. It depends on human interaction, exploration and experimentation,” says James Ludwig, Steelcase vice president of global design. Project team members, no matter where they are, “feel like they’re in the same room. Good interactions remove friction in the creative process and increase the likelihood that people will reach out to each other to solve problems. Innovation is rarely one, big ‘aha! moment.’ It’s nearly always an iterative process where people build on each other’s information and ideas.” (For more ideas about supporting distributed teams, see Making Distance Disappear.)

The cornerstone of the “best place” strategy and the first area to be introduced was a repurposed space. Previously an under-utilized cafeteria used only for morning coffee, lunch and afternoon break, the new WorkCafé is an on-site third place, as sociologist Ray Oldenburg would call it, with an informality and diverse user group. This is the “hub” for the campus and testing ground for several new concepts and applications.

Flexibility is something all three design experts are seeing as a growing trend as traditional office spaces, planned in advance with permanent layouts, are giving way to the needs of an ever-changing work landscape. Delfino notes that products designed to have every element move into place and fit together without rules based planning are at the forefront of the office of the future. “Modular components can be mixed, stacked and moved around, offering innumerable combinations for a dynamic and collaborative workplace,” he says.

Jeff Miller, a veteran of Apple and Herman Miller who’s now vice president of design at Poppin sees a move toward creating spaces that are the antithesis of rigid workstations. “Lighter, powerful, wireless technology has untethered the workspace more than ever,” Miller notes, so offices can be more comfortable, which stimulates relaxed collaboration. “Offices now mandate the inclusion of dedicated lounge areas to make working more enjoyable,” Miller says.

Food and beverages are available throughout the day in WorkCafé, but what makes the space popular is the diverse choice of spaces available for focus and collaborative work, as well as spaces that support social interaction and respite. A 24’ x 5’ media wall offers continually updated news from around the company and around the world. This concept was implemented not just at headquarters but in all our spaces, so workers in the U.S., for example, can learn about what’s going on in Malaysia or Moscow, and vice versa. media:scape collaborative settings help people share digital content more effectively, and access to power and Wi-Fi is ubiquitous.

The global network of spaces includes areas for individual work and group work, some of which are “owned” by the individual or team if needed, and many that are shared. There is a blend of open spaces, along with spaces that are enclosed or shielded, so people can choose the degree of interaction they want. The Connect 12 project team understood that people need both privacy and interaction throughout their day, in varying degrees.

New work environments offer workers more choice and control over where and how they work. Spaces that had previously been used for dedicated work stations are now used for different types of work environments that support both focus and collaborative work.

1/3 of workers in 17 of the world’s most important economies is disengaged, according to new research from Steelcase. Working with global research firm Ipos, the Steelcase Global Report is the first to explore the relationship between engagement and the workplace.

Space Odyssey Steelcase uses space to help drive culture change in the organization and better align people, culture and work processes for a fast-changing business world.

Introducing New Research on Engagement + the Global Workplace

The new Innovation Center is a place for project teams to focus on generating new ideas and exemplifies how places can help bring distributed teams together to innovate. Our Story

A. The flexible workspace revolution is upon us. Flexible design is the future of workspace layout. Recent research by Jones Lang LaSalle has shown that only 40 percent of employees feel fully engaged in their current workplace format. Work environments that facilitate a sense of community but also offer individual, private spaces have proven to be critical in building workplace satisfaction across the board. 

“It’s no exaggeration to say that at Steelcase, everyone comes to WorkCafé,” says Johnson. “It’s a central, welcoming, multi-use space with a great buzz. You see leadership, people from other parts of the company, visitors, customers. You meet people face-to-face instead of over the phone or email, so it builds rapport and trust across the company. People said the space made them feel proud and that it demonstrated how much the organization really valued them as employees.

The “best place” strategy creates a campus environment with an ecosystem of spaces that support focused work, collaboration, learning, socializing and rejuvenation.

A. Scientific studies have shown that certain colors can have an impact on productivity and creativity. A study by the University of Texas found that blue is a stable and calming choice while yellow can stimulate innovative thinking. We like to look at what is inspiring in the space, such as a clean palette or artwork, versus distracting design, like loud patterns. 

I am comfortable with the amount of natural light in the spaces I work in the most

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