07/08/2020 • 3 min read

Spaces That Move with People & Work

Design with quickly changing workplace needs in mind

by Haworth, Inc.

As the economy reopens and we return to the workplace, workspaces that allow movement will have an advantage. People will need to maintain greater personal space yet still be close enough to engage. How will this happen while still supporting work and employee well-being? Take a look at some workspace design elements that can quickly adapt to changing needs.

People Come First

Without people there would be no organizations at all. So, it makes sense to create a workspace that supports the human need for movement.
Throughout the day, people move around in three primary ways: changing their posture, position, or location. Spaces and furnishings that allow these movements support employee well-being and lead to less chronic illness. And there’s a bonus to that fact: Less chronic illness means lower healthcare costs.
Workspaces that allow people to move about to work on their own or with others rely on elements like:

Flexible Spaces

A well-planned flexible space adapts to the needs of its users throughout the day. For example, dedicated team areas equipped with mobile elements allow people to quickly toggle between working as individuals and as a group, which means they might be reconfigured several times in a single day.
Of course, other spaces are needed too. Additional areas within the flexible workspace may include:

  • A quiet library where there is no conversation to give employees a place for uninterrupted focus work
  • Informal ancillary spaces with mobile whiteboards to support impromptu idea sharing
  • Expansive open areas for hosting large team meetings
  • Conference rooms to support work done by small groups
  • Community and lounge spaces to support a variety of ways of working
  • A respite room that caters to both meditation and mindfulness
  • A game room and/or maker space to mentally and physically shift gears for a short time and get out of day-to-day routines
  • Café, refresh, and social spaces that adapt to various collaborative and individual workstyles, while also providing places to take a break

Plus, outdoor spaces can help workers focus and imagine—two things needed for convergent and divergent thinking. Courtyards, rooftop gardens, and terraces are places for people to get outside and connect with nature, which helps increase productivity, boost immunity, and reduce stress.

Furnishings That Move

Making workspaces flexible requires furnishings that move in tandem with the pace of work. 

Mobile furnishings make it easy to quickly reconfigure workspaces based on both the task at hand and which team members are involved. Some examples include:

  • Mobile monitors for sharing ideas and information
  • Rolling whiteboards that serve as both a place to collect ideas and define work zones
  • Mobile digital screens and easels that can be used where teams need them—for as long as they need them

Furniture selection in adaptable workspaces requires special consideration too. In order to reconfigure spaces quickly, furniture needs to be lightweight and modular. Desks, tables, and chairs with casters make impromptu huddles easy—roll them together for collaboration. A smaller team wants to break off for intensive problem-solving? Just roll the pieces into a new configuration.

There you have it—three things to keep in mind when designing a workspace that can adapt to changing needs: Consider the ways people move, create dedicated spaces that can be used for myriad activities, and select furnishings that allow people to reconfigure their workspaces as needed.

To discover more about workplaces that move in tandem with work, read about our design collaboration with LinkedIn.

You May Also Like