Features

Chicago Tribune Column Highlights Knoll & Unwired Research Paper

Column asserts importance of people-centered workplace design

I Just Work Here, a workplace column in The Chicago Tribune, highlighted the latest research paper by Knoll and Unwired Ventures, the workplace net.work, on June 26. Huppke's piece, "I'm heading to the office, wherever that is," broke down the shifting importance of physical place in the workplace, a change that has occurred through advancements in the digital network and the ability to work remotely.

"The place change we're experiencing is presenting companies with a dilemma: Flexibility is increasingly important to workers and technology makes it easy, but it's still important to get co-workers together so creative ideas bubble up and social connections are made," writes Huppke.

Huppke interviewed Tracy Wymer, Vice President of Worklace Research & Strategy, Knoll, who asserted the importance of people-centered workplace design and planning–particularly around the fostering of community–at a time when individual autonomy is only growing. Wymer spoke on the same themes in May while participating in WORKTECH '15 New York. Patrick O'Neill, director of the organization psychology program at Adler University, was also interviewed.

"Organizations adopt short-lived management fads," Wymar is quoted in the column. "They say, 'What people really need is more autonomy, they need more freedom.' So we see the pendulum swing to an extreme view that this is what an organization needs. But a sense of community and belonging is lost in that."

The paper the workplace net.work, released during NeoCon 2015 earlier this month, surveys major  workplace trends across global organizations and considers their implications on future planning. Specifically, the paper explores the contemporary blend of social networks, digital networks and physical space.

Key lessons from the workplace net.work paper were featured The Chicago Tribune earlier this month in The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times.