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Clear Link Between Pandemic and Recalibrating Workplace Design, Knoll; Study Finds “The Thriving Workplace,” Companion White Paper, Published

Knoll, Inc.– Research by Knoll, Inc., a constellation of design-driven brands and people, working together with clients in person and digitally to create inspired modern interiors for workplaces and homes, has found that over the next 18–24 months workplace design will accelerate away from individual workspaces to a reallocation of space for meeting spaces, social spaces and outdoor spaces.

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The finding supports the Knoll perspective that considers the emerging post-Covid pandemic workplace as an ecosystem supporting flexibility as to where and when one works but, importantly, weighted toward in-office collaborative activity. The Thriving Workplace celebrates this workplace design model, prioritizing brand values and organizational culture.

Based on fourth quarter 2020 data from a survey of 81 workplace executives across a wide range of organizations in North America, the study, The Case for the Thriving Workplace, finds that workplace performance and well-being considerations are shaping the future workplace and need for organizations to support post Covid-19 pandemic business continuity strategies through flexibility.

Kylie Roth, Knoll research director and lead author of the study said, “Our study shows that Covid-19 has driven a shift in how we work, inspiring the reimagination of the workplace. The data highlights that we are on the brink of transformative change.”

“The emerging Thriving Workplace will be based on dynamic neighborhoods and zones – flexible, highly adaptable spaces,” she added. “It’s no surprise that the purpose and design of the workplace is evolving to create new experiences that offer more flexibility and a variety of inspiring spaces.”

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Roth noted that the study tested the impact of post pandemic workplace strategy business drivers to gauge which drivers are expected to dominate the direction of the future workplace. She and her team found that people-focused considerations are top of mind, including providing employees social cohesion; strengthening organizational culture and brand; and supporting well-being and stress reduction.

The study also confirmed that:

  • Remote work is here to stay, albeit not without draw backs with respect to highly interactive work. One third of the respondents predict that employees will work remotely one or two days a week. 
  • A trend away from individual workspace to group areas as well as increased unassigned space; sharing ratios of people to individual workspaces will also rise. The study predicts a 22% decrease in the proportion of individual workspaces, from 67% of a typical workspace today to 52% in the future. The average percentage of unassigned workspaces is expected to more than double. 
  • Supporting creative and collaborative group interactions will drive workplace planning. Nearly half of the respondents report that their primary emphasis is on supporting interactive collaborative work. 
  • Meeting, social and outdoor spaces are continuing to grow in importance. 60% of the respondents predict an increase in the number of meeting spaces; 50% foresee an increase in social interaction spaces. Nearly 40% of respondents predict an increase in the number of outdoor spaces. 
  • Coworking will continue to grow as an option for organizations as managed workspace footprint decrease. More than a third of the respondents state that their deployment of coworking will increase.

The Thriving Workplace – Crafting a New Narrative

The white paper focuses on designing a Thriving Workplace through scalable planning. It recommends attention to zones and paths to optimize circulation; adaptable neighborhood settings that leverage a mix of learning, sharing and restorative spaces; enclosures that delineate space and offer intuitive technology to connect people across locations; materials that provide visual interest and provide acoustical characteristics.

Commenting on Knoll capabilities to address the Thriving Workplace, Roth notes, “The Knoll constellation of workplace and residential brands enables commercial, healthcare, education and government organizations to build thriving spaces for their employees as well as support their complementary remote work with a complete range of work from home seating and desk options.”

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