The New York Times and Business Insider Highlight Refuge Rooms and other Activity Spaces from Knoll

Activity Spaces Support Evolving Workplace Trends to Foster Innovation and Productivity

March 18, 2015

Knoll Activity Spaces, the go-to spaces accessible to everyone in the office for everything from focused, individual work through large community gatherings, are featured in the February 22 and March 4, 2016 issues of The New York Times and Business Insider, respectively.

The pieces highlight the evolution of the workplace, and how smaller individual workspaces have fueled a need for Activity Spaces to support different needs. In today’s world, work takes place everywhere so offices must both encourage collaboration and enhance productivity.

“The balance between individual spaces and community spaces has changed drastically,” comments David Bright, Knoll senior vice president of communications, “with shared and community spaces taking up a greater proportion of space than they once did.”

“Also popular with architects and designers are 'refuge rooms' to which employees can retreat when the buzz around them proves distracting — the open-office equivalent of the low-decibel 'quiet car' on many trains,” writes James Barron of The New York Times.

In an interview with Business Insider, Nicole Coughlin, Knoll marketing director says that like many companies, the Knoll New York Showroom relocated to a smaller space in 2013. "Our square footage per person decreased by about 20 percent," she said.

A number of Activity Spaces, which vary in size and function, were strategically located around the office to offer unassigned collaborative spaces outside of the primary workplace.

Smaller refuge rooms “are ideal for taking conference calls, while others are intentionally technology free, for interviews or meetings where technology is unnecessary,” Kathleen Elkins of Business Insider writes.

"We also have a couple of refuge spaces for more private use, such as a mother's room and a web conference work room with full privacy doors," explains Coughlin. "Sprinkled throughout the space are open refuge spaces, where the furniture itself gives a sense of enclosure and privacy."

Other spaces are great for small meetings between coworkers, outfitted with a table and screen to share; Team Meeting rooms for larger groups; and Assembly and Community Spaces for both planned and unplanned interactions.

“Especially with the emergence of smaller, more intimate work spaces, refuge rooms could be a game-changer when it comes to a company's overall success,” Elkins concludes.