07/18/2023 • 4 min read

The Living Lab: A Pilot Space at Haworth Headquarters

Experimenting with the future of the office

by Eric Novotny

The Haworth headquarters is more than a place where people work or a showroom of the newest designs. It’s also a “living lab” where design and research come together. We apply findings from our workplace research to spaces at HQ, so we can test these findings in a real work environment.

Recently, we renovated our Marketing department using our research surrounding 5 themes that will shape the Future of the Office: immersive technology, more collaboration, focus to restore, space shift, and more human. Our new space was inspired by Haworth’s Work from Anywhere approach, which promotes the office as a destination for connection and collaboration in the hybrid workplace.

This second-floor renovation includes important features for the future of office work, and it gives us a great opportunity to incorporate the 5 Future of the Office themes into a pilot space.

Virtual Collaboration Technology

Quality, immersive technology is imperative to help people work wherever they are. When companies implement hybrid policies, virtual collaboration technology is the top priority, according to a Haworth workplace research study.

Spaces equipped with quality technology help build social ties and organizational culture. On the other hand, spaces without it can hinder work—from poor network connections to inaccurate room booking systems.

Proper technology allows hybrid work systems to operate smoothly and improve connections between in-office and remote employees. Our new, immersive technology at headquarters includes:

  • Microsoft Teams integration
  • Cameras that automatically adjust to follow activities in conference rooms
  • Virtual touchdown spaces for deep focus
  • Screen sharing within open collaboration spaces
  • Whiteboard virtual sharing
  • Live occupancy information through Freespace software

A More Collaborative Environment

The modern office is a hub for intentional collaboration, including planned and spontaneous meetings between workers. The ability to work from anywhere within the office encourages new opportunities for purposeful coworking.

Space designs help people gather in-person and remotely facilitate 4 collaborative modes: connecting socially, thinking together, doing specific tasks, and informing one another. Haworth’s new Marketing department features:

  • Open collaborative settings
  • Team-focused workstations that facilitate collaboration
  • Project spaces featuring Pergola workspaces and Enclose mobile walls
  • Enclosed meeting rooms to allow acoustic privacy during conference calls

Spaces for Focus and Relaxation

Office design should promote mental and physical well-being. Employees need spaces where they can recharge from rigorous work—perhaps relaxing on comfortable seating or soaking up sunlight. Haworth’s headquarters has a large, open atrium that provides natural light for most of the building, including the Marketing department.

Natural elements, which alleviate mental fatigue, as well as spaces for activities like meditation and breathwork can help employees refresh and restore. Lounge spaces help support these activities.

Adding spaces where employees can take a comfortable break improves well-being and productivity. As part of the Marketing department renovation, we built:

  • Individual touchdown spaces
  • Individual retreat spaces
  • A new work café

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A Variety of Environments

Modern work is flexible, so workplaces should give employees the opportunity to shift spaces. People may jump from a virtual, one-on-one call to focus work, then back to creative collaboration in a big group. Spaces need to support each type of workstyle, and our new Marketing department incorporates flexible ancillary spaces, which give employees more choice in where to gather and work.

Today’s workforce seeks adaptability and freedom, so offices need different kinds of space and furniture. In the new Marketing area, employees can shift spaces using:

  • Group meeting and project spaces
  • Reservable individual focus areas
  • Individual restorative spaces
  • Flexible posture options in meeting spaces
  • Mobile markerboards
  • Flexible furniture

Improving Well-Being in the Workplace

Employees value a proper work-life balance and want to avoid burnout, so employers should provide them with a few resources in the office: navigable workspaces, sensible user control, and welcoming ambience. Those are valuable ways to lower stress and help boost performance, which build employee resilience.

Quality office design can help employees feel better at work. Several additions to the Marketing area support the human elements of design:

  • A timeless, hospitality-inspired aesthetic
  • A variety of applications that make the café suitable for individuals and groups
  • Ability for users to easily reorient workstations for privacy from high-traffic corridors

At Haworth, evidence-based research informs our spaces. Our 5 themes for the Future of the Office were the foundation for renovating our new Marketing workspace. Building pilot spaces into our own workplace helps us gather valuable feedback and test our innovative ideas—lessons that will help us continue to modify our space and provide the best possible insights to our customers.

Read Our Case Study

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


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