The past year has taught us that work is what we do, not where we are. The return to the office is coming — but what will it look like? The One Workplace family of brands and Steelcase invited Seattle’s leading thinkers on workplace design, technology, culture and well-being to co-create the WorkBetter Lab,
which opened May 3 at 51 University St. Part creative space and part living laboratory, the Lab provides an innovative, collaborative environment for leaders to visit, in-person and virtually, to see and experience the workplace of the future.
“After more than a year of working from home, employee expectations of their work experience have changed,” said Kathleen Selke, co-founder and vice president of sales at Porter and the WorkBetter Lab. “This means employers must create an experience that’s fundamentally different and better than the
workplace they left. The elements we liked about the office before the crisis have become even more critical, while those that frustrated us will become an even more significant barrier if not addressed. The WorkBetter Lab demonstrates a vision of a better workplace that is productive yet comforting, collaborative but flexible, and safe and hygienic without being sterile or isolating — for both onsite and
According to recent research from Steelcase, 87% of business leaders plan to allow more flexibility around how, when and where people work, up 38% from April 2020. This shift has major implications on the design of office space required today to integrate the best of all worlds — the comforts and convenience
of home with the community, cultural and productivity benefits of the office.
The WorkBetter Lab brings these design principles to life and demonstrates how organizations can design their workplaces for this new world of work and meet new employee needs and expectations. Of particular interest are products from Steelcase, including the Work Tents collection, and Microsoft Surface
devices, including the Surface Hub 2S which enables teamwork anywhere.
The five distinct zones of the WorkBetter Lab offer employers the chance to explore and adapt environments that bring new thinking to life. The Living Room is a residentially inspired setting that can accommodate small and large group interactions. Its design is natural, hackable and can be broken apart and completely reconfigured.
The Hideaway consists of the semi-enclosed Pod Tent that satisfies the desire to maintain some form of the privacy and autonomy we’ve enjoyed at home, while still helping employees feel connected.
The Garden is a reservable, secluded, small group getaway ideal for incubating ideas. Filled with biophilic elements to support creativity, the Garden also includes residentially inspired touches that bring the comforts of home to the office.
The Nook can be booked as a multi-modal space for in-person learning and workshops, virtual learning for employees and their children, or even for play activities as a means of supporting team members with little ones to care for.
The Oasis is an informal setting that gives equal access to technology and tools and incorporates color and biophilia to stimulate creativity. Residentially inspired, the Oasis provides a relaxing, private space to end or begin the day.
Opened May 3, the WorkBetter Lab is brought to Seattle by partners in workplace solutions, including the One Workplace family of brands (Porter, Splice, OpenSquare) and Steelcase. Virtual and in-person visits are available by appointment. BoF