Case Study HQ Human Resources Renovation

Based at our global headquarters, Haworth’s Human Resources (HR) team services more than 6,500 employees (whom we call members) worldwide. The 130-person team strives to provide our members the best experience—living our values and modeling our culture.

To provide our global team with the desired member experience, our HR team required a space that supported their efforts. Challenged with the goal of attracting and retaining workers, our HR department—like so many organizations today—knew change was inevitable to stay innovative. But the team was spread across five workspaces in our headquarters building, making collaboration more difficult. They were driven to create a whole new HR experience that would engage several audiences: active members, prospective members, retirees, and customers interested in our space transformation.


Holland, Michigan

Project Specs

100% access to daylight for team
95% of workstations are height-adjustable
100% of users have Fern™ high-performance task chairs
From 4 collaborative spaces to 9

Location Details

One Haworth Center Holland, MI 49423

+ 1.616.393.3000

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It all started with a discovery process that established design principles—like employee well-being—as the foundation for space planning.

The primary goals emerged from there: to create a memorable experience for all audiences; to improve communication and collaboration among the team; and to emphasize wayfinding, especially for manufacturing members. The result would be a space that reflects a new way of working for HR—from transactional to experiential.

One challenge faced by the design team was how to create a welcoming space for prospective employees near the front door that would also be accessible to manufacturing members with longer walks and limited break times. On top of that, the space had to accommodate a continuum of activities—from recruiters who are constantly on the phone to the privacy and confidentiality required by the benefits and compensation teams.

“ This building—period—is one of the best recruiting tools one could ever hope for. ” – Ann Harten VP Global Human Resources

Create a Memorable Experience

Our headquarters building is divided into east and west sections, with the main entrance between the two. The area called 2East (second floor, east side) was ideally suited for the new space because of proximity to the front door and north-facing windows that would provide daylight for HR team members. With some clever wayfinding tactics, the design team helped create an efficient path that would guide the more than 1,200 manufacturing workers who are based here to the HR department—quickly and conveniently.

An important part of the process was the involvement of the entire HR department at various stages. They took an initial survey about what they wanted in the new space and were part of an ongoing communications process that kept them informed at different points throughout the office floorplan design. They were engaged participants in a change management process to ensure their voices were heard and the space functioned best for their needs.

Now the HR team enjoys an energizing yet calming color palette, access to daylight for all, a respite room where they can rejuvenate, and Fern™ high-performance desk chairs for ergonomics.

The transformed space offers a variety of areas to support their needs: collaboration and spontaneous interaction, privacy and focus work, as well as security and confidentiality.

From Transactional to Experiential

The proof is in the data: The post-occupancy survey revealed HR members are more satisfied and positive about the renovated space than their previous workspace. From the welcoming environment to increased interaction, it’s apparent that when you take the time to listen, involve your people, and analyze their needs, you can create a space that accommodates the range of activities HR professionals engage in while fulfilling business goals.