Creating Places to Belong®

The Value of Culture & Connection

Kimball International partnered with Ipsos, a global leader in market research, and Arigami, a distinguished interdisciplinary research team, to study how sensory design and furniture can make people feel like they belong.

Experts from Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, and other top schools led the research, which was carried out by a team with diverse skills in behavioral science, neuroaesthetics, and creative design innovation. 


Designing a Culture of Belonging

The workplace is undergoing a transformative shift. At Kimball International, we’re committed to helping businesses embrace this evolution by recognizing the power that place has for nurturing a stronger sense of belonging—a proven catalyst for organizational success. Shaping a sense of belonging in the workplace involves recognizing the role of company culture, addressing the fundamental human needs of  connection, community, comfort, and choice, and factoring in purposeful design strategies. Together, these elements form a cohesive framework that influences not just how employees feel but also how they perform. By harmonizing these elements, we can foster a workplace where everyone can thrive.

Understanding Your Culture

Culture is the invisible thread that weaves through every interaction, decision, and space within an organization. Company culture is intricately linked to the sense of belonging, with five distinct culture types influencing how it is nurtured. The ability to translate culture through tangible space design can significantly enhance employees' sense of belonging.

Designing for Human Needs

In today's dynamic landscape, the concept of the workday is being reinvented. Workplaces are transforming into lively, inviting centers that prioritize a sense of belonging by meeting key human needs: connection, community, comfort, and choice. Through thoughtful design, we create spaces that make work a destination of choice.

The freedom to choose our work environment is directly linked to improved performance, creativity, and engagement, fueling happiness and productivity. Our research has led to the development of six distinct space types that cater to the evolving needs and workstyles of employees, nurturing their sense of belonging.

Tapping Into the Senses

We all have unique sensory preferences. Through thoughtful consideration of sensory design, organizations can cultivate workplaces that significantly contribute to employee well-being. By applying a human-centered approach to space design, factors like acoustics and textures, as well as visual elements such as lighting, biophilia, and color can be carefully selected to influence the way employees experience a space. These foundations will help them feel authentically connected to their work environment.