West Elm Workspace White Paper: Unoffice the Office

West Elm Workspace recently published a White Paper, Unoffice the Office.”  This is the result of extensive research and is the main driving force behind this year’s product previews at NeoCon and the direction they are taking for the foreseeable future. The research was conducted and the white paper was prepared in collaboration with Melissa Marsh, founder and executive director of Plastarc, a workplace innovation and organizational strategy firm.

Some key takeaways:

Today, most people are not working in an office setting that works for them. But we can change that. In the past few decades, the sweeping transformations experienced by virtually every industry have rarely been matched by complementary, comprehensive workplace redesigns. Opportunities are now more plentiful than ever to create ideal workspaces that can be leveraged to advance work across sectors—if we use a human-centered, occupant-driven focus to design them. West Elm Workspace is “unofficing” the office by recentering it on people and nature: the essentials. In a phrase, the brand is humanizing the workplace.

As industries around the world adjust to the many cultural changes globalization is bringing to their doorsteps, learning to make the most of new technologies, and endeavoring to keep operations running while adapting to ever-changing circumstances in real time, design has an unprecedented ability to influence workplaces for the better: for people, for organizations, and for the environment. Designers can drive a human-centric revolution that works in concert with the ones technology and industry are already in the midst of—as long as we commit to putting people first.

By studying and leveraging research in environmental psychology, cognitive science, and current socioeconomic trends, West Elm Workspace is forging a new and novel space planning approach that cultivates community, creates choice, embraces change, and honors nature. By letting a human-centered approach lead their work, they are not only addressing today’s workplace challenges, they are designing to surpass previous standards and elevate the human experience of the built environment to new levels. By creating multifunctional, high-performing work environments that incorporate the best of residential and hospitality models, they are capitalizing on this new golden age of design and “unofficing” the office. By bringing the focus back to people, they are humanizing the workplace.