• 5 min read

Enhancing the Future Workplace: A Case Study from Haworth HQ

We used a pilot space at our headquarters to learn about effective space design

by Kristin Reddick

Haworth HQ’s Marketing department recently underwent a refresh. Our Interior Design studio designed the space to support the new ways people work, using our workplace research findings.

We refer to 5 Themes for the Future of the Office: Immersive Technology, More Collaboration, Focus & Restore, Space Shift, and More Human. Together, they create spaces that support people physically, emotionally, and cognitively.

Applying that research in our own space let it function as a living lab—testing the hypothesis that work environments designed around the 5 Themes lead to a satisfied and productive workforce. We focused on the most important in-office activities and found that people generally felt more supported:

  • Learning from Others – 12%​
  • Collaborating on Focus Work​ – 10%
  • Hosting Visitors, Clients, or Customers​ – 7%
  • Using Technical/Specialist Equipment – 6%
  • Participating in Informal Social Interactions​ – 4%
  • Spreading Out Paper or Materials – 4%​
  • Individual Focused Work, Away from Desk​ – 3%
  • Relaxing/Taking a Break​ – 1%

We surveyed the occupants and incorporated other methodologies, including Freespace utilization sensors, QR code pulse surveys, observation days, and focus groups.

Advanced Technology

We integrated immersive technology for seamless connections in team and individual spaces. New room booking technology helps members plan their in-office work, and Freespace provides live occupancy information on wayfinding screens at the entrances of these spaces. Our study found that these integrations throughout the workplace led to a 42% increase in satisfaction with the availability of video conferencing options.

Intentional Collaboration

As part of our Marketing redesign, we shifted spaces to create an intentional hub for collaboration, including planned and spontaneous interactions. We observed 148 of those occurrences over 3 days in collaborative areas and individual workstations. To support our observations, surveys also showed members were more satisfied with group space availability, and 80% felt those spaces supported group activities well.

Restorative Activities

Working collaboratively in the office is important, but supportive workplaces also help employees complete focus work or restore during the workday. We added more individual focus and restorative spaces, plus an updated work café. Most respondents feel that these spaces support their work, and they also feel better able to relax and take a break.

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Space Allocation

In this new era of hybrid work, people can choose where they work best. Not only did we add more kinds of spaces, we gave employees better user control and flexibility in their individual workspaces—including different workstation orientations and postures. Satisfaction with the variety of space types rose 22%, and people were also 19% more satisfied with the utility of those spaces.

Human-Centric

The office should feel safe, comfortable, and welcoming. We used warm colors and textures to soften the Marketing space, and we integrated biophilic elements—including plants and natural light—throughout. Member satisfaction with access to those natural elements increased by 7%. Our members also appreciate new navigational cues, which help them find certain people and spaces.

Like many organizations, Haworth needed to adapt to new workstyles and employee expectations. Designing this pilot space around the 5 Themes for the Future of the Office helped us test and learn how to create an optimal work environment.

We found that providing the right quantity and types of spaces, along with improved technology, helps our members feel more supported to do in-office work. Our next step is to apply these lessons and transform more spaces in Haworth HQ into desirable work environments.

More on Our Marketing Pilot Space

We highlighted specific renovations for the Marketing department in our headquarters, featuring research from our workplace experts.

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