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When designing spaces for today’s employee, the best result is human-centered, a workplace crafted to mentally excite and engage, physically comfort and emotionally support busy workers.

Take a moment and describe what comes to mind when you think of a modern room. Your brain may conjure up images of thin, sleek furniture, and minimalist decor. Now, instead of thinking about the room, turn your thoughts to the modern man or modern woman. He or she may be rushing to the next meeting, all while preparing mental talking points, answering a text message and having a “casual” yet critical off-line conversation with a co-worker. Is your image of a modern room supporting the modern worker?

When designing spaces for today’s employee, the best result is human-centered, a workplace crafted to mentally excite and engage, physically comfort and emotionally support busy workers. Mobile technologies promised workers the ability to be productive on the go. But, it’s not enough. Needs for collaboration, team building and individual focus are just a few of the reasons employees are coming back to the office. The elevated importance of the workplace is creating anoffice renaissance.

As employees return to the office, the workspaces of yesterday won’t meet the needs of today. The spaces for the new office need to combine an updated look with an authentic employee. Beautiful spaces are only worth investing in if they are also productive.

The Steelcase Design Studio considered the entirety of the person when putting together the below tips for updating your workspace. Emotionally, how people feel in the space, was considered important along with employees’ physical health and people’s ability to focus and solve problems. With a view of workers’ holistic wellbeing, Steelcase’s team of designers created six suggestions for how to update your workplace for the office renaissance:



Similar to a healthy ecosystem in nature that is biodiverse, create a range of spaces that support different types of work that people can choose to work from, regardless of where they fit within the organization’s hierarchy. Large team meetings, small group conversations and private moments to focus all support the modern worker’s needs.



Incorporate spaces that allow people to work in whatever posture works for them – lounging, standing, perching, walking or sitting upright.



More than just adding plants — which is important – seek variation over uniformity. Incorporate naturally complex materials, lots of different shapes, forms, patterns and textures.



The most inviting and inspiring spaces need to help people make meaningful progress on their work. Integrate technology that makes it easier for people to collaborate, that encourages movement and makes it easier to get into focus. Help people find their favorite places to get work done and provide a feedback loop to the organization about what spaces work.



Balance the desire for openness with the human need for solitude. Create spaces that support focused work as well as rejuvenation.



Create spaces that feel bespoke to the organization and the individual. Prioritize self expression and authenticity over perfection.

Modernizing the workplace doesn’t need to feel intimidating or overwhelming. By keeping the holistic wellbeing of people top-of-mind, your workplace can be at the forefront of the office renaissance, becoming a place where everyone wants to be.

Author of the article: Rebecca Charbauski

References: Rebecca, an Emmy-winning journalist, reports on global research impacting the places where people work, learn and heal. Over her career, Rebecca spent 17 years covering local and national news events on television and a variety of digital platforms. She directed a digital news group in Kansas City for three years before becoming news director in Grand Rapids, Michigan for more than five years. Prior to Steelcase, Rebecca worked with one of the four largest media groups in the United States to coordinate news coverage among 48 newsrooms from the east to west coast.

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