2W Headquarters Renovation

Holland, Michigan

One Haworth Center, our corporate headquarters, is a space that evolves with a dynamic, changing world. It’s a place where we apply our research and knowledge about the nature of work and demonstrate the effectiveness of our workspace solutions. Our workspace is an important tool that helps our organization—and our customers’ organizations—succeed.

In 2013, we reconfigured a space on the second floor of One Haworth Center called 2West to demonstrate the ever-evolving nature of work, create a vision for our customers, and support employee needs.


Change begins with knowledge

The reconfiguration coincided with the changing needs of our marketing and design teams. Made up of many right-brained individuals whose work is highly strategic and conceptual—such as designing, drawing, and writing—they desire more collaboration while depending on opportunities for independent, focused work. Also a factor were the different workstyles represented within these teams.

Future worker dynamics

The nature of work is influenced by forces beyond our control—social, technological, economic, environmental, and political. Our research, knowledge, expertise and global design perspective guide us to evaluate workplace trends such as the ones listed below, then tailor spaces that support them, for both our customers and employees.


Key implications

- Support an agile workforce.
- Integrate technology throughout and in a variety of settings.
- Demonstrate applications based on specific knowledge and research.
- Shift individual space to a variety of group spaces.
- Create non-traditional spaces to collaborate. socialize, and work.
- Add elements of lighting, color, and texture to create inviting spaces with visual interest
- Accessorize with artistic craft-inspired pieces.
- Provide an inspirational environment.


Creating a Vision for Our Customers

Technology gives people the choice to work anywhere, anytime. It has been a major influence on the design of space. Facilities must be adaptable to keep up with the advances in technology that happen at a faster pace than ever before, and keep up with the demand for more group interaction. Work is more collaborative than ever before. With smaller and more portable technology tools, individual workstations are shrinking, too. When we assessed the individual to group space ratio in 2008 and learned that the 2West space was 80/20, we knew Haworth had an opportunity to not only provide more group space for collaboration, but also offer a variety of spaces for a mix of workstyles. The reconfiguration now offers a balance of group and individual spaces, including assigned and unassigned to accommodate a mobile workforce.


At Haworth, we have spent significant time understanding the different behaviors people employ for completing tasks and utilizing the workspace. Four workstyles characterize the majority of office workers: Crew, Connector, Master, and Specialist. Our teams in 2West comprise a broad mix.

Crew: Individuals who work in teams focused on tactical objectives and deliverables. 
Connector: People who often work in groups to generate new ideas and connect them to strategy.
Specialist: People who mostly work alone focused on specific tasks and deliverables.
Master: Subject matter experts who primarily work alone to develop and hone strategic concepts.


We have also learned that people are generally drawn to one of four collaborative modes: think, do, see, and connect. Most organizations need spaces that support all four types, although one may be more 
prevalent than the other three. To support the workstyles of 2West employees, all four collaboration modes were included in the design of the refreshed space.

Think: Strategic space for formal planning or brainstorming
See: Presentation spaces for communicating and sharing information
Do: Tactical spaces for project work
Connect: Social settings for informal gatherings as well as work


The new space now offers three times the collaborative space it had in 2008, with social settings and spaces for tactical, presentation, and strategic activities—from formal meeting rooms to casual lounges.

We also planned for various individual workspaces, including dedicated workstations as well as touchdown spaces that are well equipped with tools, lighting, and accessories anyone needs throughout the day. And, we purposefully considered the sensory needs of people—sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch—by offering a mix of materials, colors and textures in the product solutions we installed. Engaging the senses can influence workers’ overall well-being by providing comfort and security. Offering variety is another way to create spaces that feel familiar—spaces that draw people in.


To support an agile workforce, everyone has a choice from a “kit of spaces” to work independently or collaboratively. Embedded technology tools like workware™ enhance collaborative spaces, supporting group activities such as sharing, connecting, and creative problem solving. These options are available to both assigned and unassigned workers.


The space was also designed with flexibility to accommodate a mobile workforce. Employees can seek out space within a Mobile Landing when they need a place to touchdown. They store their personal things in lockers during the day, giving them the freedom to move around the building from meetings to collaborative spaces and back to one of the Mobile Landings.

By providing people with a higher proportion of group spaces and giving them variety and choice in where they work—either on their own or collaboratively, we can help increase employee performance, satisfaction, and engagement.

Other Takeaways

Change requires communication: During the reconfiguration, change management was crucial. Communicating about change involves an ongoing, multi-step process designed to inform people early, clearly, and frequently about what’s happening since everyone may have different expectations.
Working through installation: Just because installers were working didn't mean business stopped on the second floor. Work continued on, and even client groups experienced the various stages of reconfiguration. 
Sustainability savings: A number of tactics were employed to keep waste out of landfills as much as possible. All leftover product and materials were recycled, repurposed, or donated. Also, overall storage needs for employees were reduced by clearing out storage areas and having a recycling event and competition between groups.

I like not having an assigned workstation. It gives me the freedom to move based on my specific tasks. It's not just about location or privacy; its also about variety in views, the mix of materials, and adjacencies to different people throughout the day.

Rob, Real Estate & Facility Manager


The 2West space was designed to support the changing nature of work and offer our customers opportunities to envision what is possible in their own facilities. Our agile workforce has the choice and variety—as well as more space for collaboration—it needs to not only work effectively, but also be inspired. Other areas in One Haworth Center will continue to evolve, offering our customers—and our employees—continuous learning about how their spaces can enhance their business, sustain the planet, and stir the spirit of the people that occupy it.