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Nearly 40 million Americans quit their jobs in 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Why? Partially due to the pandemic and being required to work from home, people began to re-think how they spend their time, how they are valued, and what work means to them. Design Collaborative has always focused on creating people-first places and, because of that, we learned that the key to a successful workplace design is one very important thing – flexibility. How do we create a workplace that gives employees ownership and control of their environment? Over the course of the last two years, perspectives have changed, and our workplace designs are adapting to these changes.

More so than ever, flexibility in the workplace is essential. The office is more than just about work – it’s about innovation, trust, and connections. The reimagined workplace needs to have space where employees can build connections with one another, share ideas, and innovate through collaboration. There also needs to be spaces where employees can focus and concentrate on individual tasks. By supporting both collaborative and individual work styles, employees can choose what work mode suits their needs that day. They have the choice and flexability to choose the work setting that works best for them. DC’s project with  Aptera is a great example of this, with a variety of spaces incorporated into the design. There are meeting rooms that support various group sizes, individual workstations, open areas for collaboration, and smaller focus rooms throughout the space.

Aptera Yellow Chairs - square crop
Aptera Yellow Chairs - square crop
Workplace Technology ORNL West Branch Lobby

Balance and inclusion has also become increasingly important – providing design solutions that combine both the virtual and physical space by incorporating technology.  Employers should consider providing technology throughout the space that allows an internal team to connect with hybrid or remote peers with ease. This allows us to create an inclusive experience for those in and out of the office and lets staff know that they are valued and connected to the team, regardless of their location.

Workplace Technology ORNL West Branch Lobby

Another aspect of a well-rounded office includes giving employees opportunities to improve their health and well-being in the workplace. This may include designing a fitness space for employees to use, a private room to relax and regroup mentally or incorporating a walking path or outdoor break area nearby. Even amenities such as a pool table or healthy snack options let employees know that their overall health is being cared for.

AEP Fitness Flexible Workplace
AEP Fitness Flexible Workplace
Pizza Hut Pizza Hut Conference Room Pizza Hut Training Room Wall

It all comes back to one key concept – flexibility. Workplaces should be designed not only to drive results, but should also focus on the engagement and success of those working within the space. Only positive results will follow from this. Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne knew that this was incredibly important when working with DC to design their new headquarters. They wanted a space that would put a smile on everyone’s face. Moving forward in a hybrid workplace world, designs can be adapted for the new type of workplace, but DC’s focus will continue to be creating people-first places.

Pizza Hut Pizza Hut Conference Room Pizza Hut Training Room Wall
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