Design with Impact, MillerKnoll’s new approach

Design with Impact is the new approach that MillerKnoll is pursuing in the direction of reorganising work spaces, focusing on the wellbeing, connections and change. It is now clear to all that workplaces no longer follow traditional organisation and logic: the rise of hybrid and remote forms of work has led to rethinking spaces both in the office and at home to maximise flexibility on when and where to work.

However, working remotely over extended periods of time has highlighted how irreplaceable in-person collaboration and connection is. The Future Forum’s February 2023 survey revealed that 74 per cent of employees surveyed, when asked why they go to the office, answered camaraderie, a sense of community or bonding with colleagues as their main reason.

While working remotely has many benefits, both for employees and companies, it also has this considerable disadvantage. So how can workers’ demands for flexibility in terms of location be met, while at the same time cultivating the interpersonal bonds that are essential for innovation, culture and business success? To address this need, MillerKnoll has analysed the office environment and what it can offer from the ground up, focusing on 3 key areas: wellbeing, connection and change.

A company can only thrive if its employees thrive: in recent years, unfortunately, we have witnessed a deterioration in the mental health of workers, which makes it incumbent on employers to become more aware of and concretely commit to their role in supporting people’s wellbeing, which involves the physical, mental and emotional aspects. It is essential, for example, to use ergonomic furniture and provide a variety of work environments and spaces also dedicated to relaxation because, when an organisation or company shows care and attention towards workers, they will be more involved, productive and loyal.

The second aspect underpinning MillerKnoll’s Design with Impact methodology is the importance of encouraging meaningful connections. Although remote working fosters productivity, nothing can replace the value of a team meeting and dialogue that generates a culturally stimulating environment. Forward-thinking organisations recognise that facilitating both virtual and face-to-face connections is one of the primary purposes of the work environment. For this reason, the design of environments must be able to create places conducive to ‘strong bonds’ within teams, where space can be given to creativity, debate and confrontation that often generate new ideas.

The third aspect analysed concerns the strengthening of adaptability, i.e. the ability to cope with change. Change is the basis of development and is an ever-accelerating process. This is precisely why companies that adopt an agile approach to transformation and change undoubtedly have a competitive advantage.
It is not possible to stop change, but one can learn to react and deal with it. This ideal in pragmatic terms translates into workspaces that are not rigidly imposed, but can be reconfigured according to changing needs.

Design with Impact is a valid approach to address and respond to the ever-increasing demand for flexibility faced by companies. In fact, this methodology creates added value to workspaces, making them an effective resource to support employee wellbeing, connection and change.


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