Planning for Performance

Designing shared spaces that provide more than a fresh look

Read 3 minutes

Today so much of our work happens away from the primary workstation. The casual atmosphere draws us in, but often these spaces do not support our work. When designing shared spaces consider these performance principles:

Privacy: Provide the appropriate levels and types of privacy needed for the work at hand, including visual, acoustic and territorial privacy

Posture: Support the body in a posture appropriate for the task, whether lounge, task, stool-height or standing

Proximity: Intentionally plan the relationships between people, their tools, the furniture and the overall space

Personality: Express the unique brand and culture of an organization to attract and retain talent

When these principles have been considered in the design, good things happen:

Productivity: Individuals and teams can work better collaborating, socializing or focusing

Psychological comfort: People feel good and want to use the spaces


This relaxed, social setting is ideal for building connections with colleagues. Surfaces for technology and access to power support working alone and together.

Privacy: Large overhead lighting provides intentional shielding that brings psychological comfort

Proximity: Thoughtful selection of seating elements similar in height and recline ensures a democratic experience

Posture: Informal postures foster open connections with colleagues

Proximity: Access to personal tables and power provide everyone with the tools to get work done


The right mix of furniture and worktools optimizes this space for generative collaboration. Standing postures promote active participation and digital and analog displays keep content visible.

Privacy: Tall boundaries act as a shield from distraction and provide surfaces for users to make their thinking visible

Proximity: Mobile tools allow groups to control their content and toggle between analog and digital formats to support workflow

Posture: Offering standing postures promotes an active space that naturally supports generative behavior

Proximity: Arranging the table and tools at standing height allows users to have eye contact and equally contribute to the conversation

Notable Products: Answer Panel, Coalesse Exponents Whiteboard, B-Free Table, Enea Cafe Wood Stool, B-Free Cube


When users need to retreat, this Brody setting offers task and lounge postures for solo work.

Proximity: Intentionally orienting the space for each user to protect their back and limit distractions while taking advantage of the view outside can boost cognitive performance

Privacy: Integrated screens keep visual distractions to a minimum allowing users to stay in flow

Posture: Providing multiple postures allows users to work the way they prefer

Personality: Thoughtfully selected surface materials, patterns and color add a shot of personality to the workplace

Notable Products: Brody WorkLounge, Brody Desk, SILQ Chair


Ideal for dyadic work, these adjacent spaces support different levels of privacy and collaborative behaviors, from informal content reviews in the pod to more active co-creation with teammates in the open.

Privacy: Enclosed space provides a quiet atmosphere for small groups to meet while limiting surrounding distractions

Posture: Providing a range of postures that support different experiences allows choice for users based on the nature of their work

Privacy: Freestanding screens are used as a boundary and to pin up analog content for generative collaboration

Proximity: Light scale technology combined with interactive cloud connection allows for a flexible tool that can be positioned where needed

Notable Products: Microsoft Surface Hub 2S, Steelcase Roam Mobile Stand, Steelcase Flex Screen, Montara650 Stool, Blu Dot Splash Coat Rack, Blu Dot Bumper Ottoman. Orangebox: Air25 Pod, Away from the Desk Lounge System, Border Bench

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