Apr 18, 2019

A Place for Everyone. And Everything


How workplace neighborhoods empower employees with freedom, flexibility, and ownership.

Ultimately creating an effective workspace is more than ergonomics, technology, materials, or colors. It’s a mindful approach that puts people first and empowers employees to find the best place to do their work, build human connections, and thrive – all under one roof. Workplace design maintains flexibility and supports creativity by giving individuals and teams the ability to control their own environments. And that ultimately makes them more effective. While business goals, challenges, and square footage will vary, workplace design should always be human centered and focused on the people who inhabit them.

One Workplace, like so many of our clients, is made up of multiple divisions and employees that span the gamut of age, ethnicity, and work experience.

As we examined not just where – but how – our employees work, their individuality began to take shape. This pushed us beyond functional design into our attempt to understand the variety of tasks these individuals perform during the day and why.

The Modern Village

Our solution went well beyond the “open office.” What emerged was a design theme centered around the Modern Village. For a background on the Modern Village and how it came to be, click here. In a nutshell, we wanted to create work space that fosters both deep and broad connections within and across the organization. We started thinking of the workplace as a collection of neighborhoods where employees have a place to belong yet share an intertwined and connected space. These neighborhoods would be flexible and provide a wide array of privacy and collaborative spaces to let individuals choose the best way to get their work done every single moment of every single day.

A variety of resources.

There are no one-size-fits-all ways to work. The truth is, people change how and where they work all day, every day. Neighborhoods account for this. In fact, neighborhood design plans for it from the start with a deep, data-driven understanding of all the unique ways a specific organization’s employees prefer to work.

Each of our neighborhoods provides a range of spaces to support individual, team and organizational work. Neighborhoods support anyone who works in them, whatever they need to do and however they prefer to work.

They also take the following into consideration:

A variety of activities.

Neighborhoods seek to achieve that balance between functionality, flexibility, and personal ownership. Rather than assigned personal spaces, neighborhoods offer shared and collaborative spaces. However, that doesn’t exclude the need for individual, focused work – or for privacy. With neighborhoods, work teams may be organized into communities that share resources, but they also contain areas for every type of activity, and anything each individual employee needs.

Here’s an anatomy of a typical neighborhood.

Neighborhoods are also buffered for privacy. Circulation paths provide employees access to hubs of activity, and quiet side streets give them opportunities for refuge.

From functional to human.

An effective work space does more than give people a place to work. It brings functional tools and human-centered design together in a way that turns an office into a destination people choose to come to for a sense of belonging, ownership, and freedom to work however they choose. While open offices are designed to optimize a given space, neighborhoods within them are designed to maximize the engagement, purpose, people, wellbeing and culture inside of it.

To learn more about URTO and how we’re using it to guide our own office – and how we’re applying what we learned to our current projects, visit go.oneworkplace.com/urto.