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Knoll Participates in WorkTech '15 New York Panel

Knoll study considers future workspace arising from collision of physical and social networks

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MAY 15, 2015 — Tracy Wymer, Vice President Workplace, Knoll, joined Martha Clarkson, Microsoft, and Nona Gross, Siemens, for an expert panel at WorkTech ’15 in New York City. The panel, moderated by Philip Ross of UNGROUP, discussed preliminary findings from the forthcoming Knoll-sponsored research the workplace net.work capturing the proliferation of thoughtful workplace practices around the globe that emphasize creating community in a hospitality-like experience. 

The panel discussed a key prediction put forward in the research about a new kind of space—a user experience space that results from the collision of the physical and digital worlds. The future net.work is heralded by workplace design trends that place a premium on quality design in support of employee community and social experiences, in addition to a focus on efficiency and utility—in short, the “humanization of the workplace,” as Wymer noted.

The panel addressed balancing physical space constraints of real estate and architecture with promoting social engagement, not only between people (digitally and in person) but between people and their environments. Providing adaptable solutions that empower users to modify the workplace as needed is key to achieving this engagement.

“We anticipate the merging of the social network with the physical real estate,” Wymer said, adding: “We need spaces that are vessels for people, not equipment; we need flexibility, not overly specified use.”

The panelists also raised the question of how to foster community in physical space—creating “quality experience in the context of the digital realm, connecting an asynchronous workforce that is looking for a home," said Wymer. The topic has risen to the fore with the recent surge in demand for co-working spaces and the collaborative work required of major growth industries.

“Our workspace is a social gathering,” said Nona Gross, a design and implementation strategist at Siemens. People would rather come to the office than telecommute."

"The digital environment also enables employees to be an extension of  a company's brand," she added.

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The panel included Philip Ross (UNGROUP), Nona Gross (Siemens), Tracy Wymer (Knoll) and Martha Clarkson (Microsoft).

Knoll will host a luncheon seminar on the workplace net.work at NeoCon2015, the annual contract industry trade show taking place June 15—17 in Chicago. For information, contact Katie Okamoto: kokamoto@knoll.com or 212 343-4030.