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  • Rhona Jamieson

Fostering Connection When You Design With Impact

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

A woman in an office moving a wall screen

The idea of the office has changed massively over the past five years and it could develop even further away from traditional models over the next five. Our partners MillerKnoll have recognised this and have been developing a new way of thinking about workplaces and how we should ‘Design With Impact'.

By talking to their clients and using research from Future Forum, they examined how the office could work better. It comes as firms need to encourage more staff to return from the comforts and convenience of working from home. It’s not easy - as Mark Catchlove from MillerKnoll’s Insights Group puts it, “A great workplace has to earn the commute”.

Three themes kept coming up in MillerKnoll’s discussions: wellbeing, connection, and change. We examined wellbeing in a previous blog and here we look at connection.

Connection is a complex topic and can be described in a workplace context in many ways: Physical or Emotional, In Person or Virtually, and more abstract connections such as shared interests and a sense of belonging.

A workplace by its very nature is a place where people come together. There is time with your team, for collaboration, feedback, mentorship and to develop company culture.

Sometimes those are planned and in-depth connections such as team meetings but the impromptu chats while making a coffee are often equally as important, especially when it comes to giving people a reason to come into the office.

If someone feels connected to an organisation and feel they belong, they are more likely to be more productive.

Therefore, spaces for all these moments of connection need to be created:

Impromptu Connections – Creating areas that support spontaneous, social moments such as coffee bars or soft seating spaces.
Equitable Experiences – Setting up areas where people can connect virtually just as easily as those in person
Being Seen – Allowing colleagues to see and hear what each other are working on to foster a sense of community

Each of these areas will require different types of furniture to reinforce the weak and strong ties between colleagues. These products might give you an idea of where to start:

Sometimes though, needs will change, either on a daily basis or more long term. This is where agile furniture and convertible space come into their own.

Check our blog on the final area of Design with Impact – designing for change.



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