Design Thinking for Today’s Working Spaces
Kimball International offers thoughtful design and product solutions that make employees, clients, and guests feel like they are a part of something bigger. Through research, we examined healthcare, workplace, and education experiences. We uncovered that employees needed flexible, adaptable, and safe spaces to feel comfortable and fully enter back into each of these spaces. While not surprising individually, it was interesting to note that this need was across all industries. This research also validated what we all know to be true - the right spaces create connections.
During the course of the pandemic, Kimball International conducted research to better understand employee needs. With our research partners, we found that one message was consistent. No matter the end market, design must be responsive. When we took a closer look at the spaces that are needed to support responsive design, we discovered four trends. The 4 Ps - Pliability, Performance, Power, and Placement - must be considered to develop spaces that can be truly responsive to users' needs and provide an optimal experience.
By leveraging design-thinking, informed by what our research presented, we developed 6 Space Types. These Space Types are based on the 4 Ps and support responsive design in workplace environments. This comprehensive approach allows us to create purposeful settings that work for a multitude of spaces and a variety of users. From 100% working from home to flexible work schedules to those desiring a return to the office, organizations have been challenged with accommodating ever-changing needs. Kimball International is here to help navigate this evolving landscape. By offering our experience and point of view on furniture solutions and applications, we can help enhance employee experience, engagement, retention, and satisfaction.
More than flexibility and adaptability, pliability encompasses a wide variety of changes. From micro changes (such as adding a screen for safety) to macro changes (like reconfiguration for improved workflow) a pliable environment is one that is intentionally designed to change and adapt to the unknown future.
Safety, durability, sustainability, and protection are key indicators of performance. Products that are better for the interior environment AND the planet, are an expectation for designers and owners. Recent studies have shown that Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) is a critical factor in attracting top talent in all industries.
It goes without saying that power is now a requirement. Perhaps in the future, power and data will all be a part of the metaverse, but today (and the foreseeable future), power reigns supreme. Tied closely with flexibility, lack of easy access to power and data, both wireless and wired, can be an incredible dissatisfier in an environment.
Furniture placement can appear haphazard and lead to inefficiencies in workflow if not fully thought through. Tied directly to placement, our live design charrette tool, Elevate, provides a measured approach to intentionally designing for change, incorporating performance factors, and integrating power and data. Our Elevate process minimizes time and increases opportunities to improve the user experience.
Often described as the heartbeat of the office, the Hub supports socialization and connectivity. These spaces are often designed with comfortable, casual, and eclectic pieces.
These spaces play an important part in defining an organization’s brand and culture, as well as creating a positive customer experience. They offer a variety of seating options for meeting, catching up, and grabbing a bite to eat.
6 Space Types
Work Your Way
These workspaces support users throughout their work day. From spaces with visual and acoustical privacy to informal meeting areas, these destinations accommodate planned and impromptu interactions.
Tech-savvy spaces that support coming together, in-person or virtually. These conference rooms and huddle spaces are highly functional and encourage collaboration and problem-solving.
Room on the Move
Versatile and movable furniture solutions allow these spaces to easily transition. Promote learning, training, mentoring, and hands-on activities by offering these flexible spaces.
Well + Good
Promote employee well-being and safety with spaces and programs dedicated to overall health. These areas can include yoga and meditation spaces or more personal needs like a mother’s room.