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Employee Engagement + The Resilient Workplace

A Resilient Workplace is an ecosystem of spaces designed to adapt and evolve over time, optimizing real estate while fostering higher levels of employee engagement.

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Insights + Solutions Guide

The Insights and Solutions guide offers ideas and design solutions to create a Resilient Workplace that helps boost employee engagement.


Key Design Principles

Design for Wellbeing
Ecosystem of Spaces



How the Physical Environment Can Help

A Resilient Workplace is an ecosystem of workspaces designed to adapt and evolve over time, optimizing real estate while fostering higher levels of employee engagement. The result is a more engaged and effective workforce that allows the organization to respond to changing business conditions.

Through ongoing research and exploration via behavioral prototypes, Steelcase has uncovered two key design principles that can help organizations create resilient and cost-effective workplaces that address the issue of employee engagement.

These two design principles are:

1. Design for Wellbeing: Designing workplaces to support the holistic wellbeing of people can amplify employee engagement and satisfaction

2. Ecosystem of Spaces: A workplace ecosystem supports employee wellbeing by providing individuals and groups with a range of options within the workplace.

Design for Wellbeing

Design for Wellbeing

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Be healthier

Workpspaces should support movement throughout the day and encourage healthy postures that help workers stay comfortable and energized.

Read Wellbeing: A Bottom Line Issue

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Think Better

The workplace should support the need for focus and rejuvenation through workspaces where individuals and teams can think clearly, concentrate easily, solve problems and generate new ideas.

Read Think Better

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Feel Better

Organizations should support the social nature of work by creating workspaces that nurture a sense of belonging and foster connections between people and the organization.

View Wellbeing Thoughtstarters

Ecosystem of Spaces

Ecosystem of Spaces

Ecosystem Overview

An ecosystem of spaces enables an organization to be more resilient. It uses real estate more efficiently and cost effectively, making it easier for organizations to experiment with different types of spaces and evolve the workplace over time.

A workplace ecosystem supports employee wellbeing by providing individuals and groups with a range of options within the workplace that consider the following:

The workplace should encourage regular movement throughout the day and offer options for people to work in sitting, standing or lounge postures.

Spaces should enable quality interactions with teams that are both local and distributed across continents and time zones, supporting both digital and analog communication.

Read Making Distance Disappear

The work environment should provide places that offer varying ways to achieve privacy, in both open and enclosed spaces. Privacy is important to all workers and a vital component of both focus and rejuvenation, which are essential to employee engagement.

Read The Privacy Crisis

Designing the Resilient Workplace

Resident Zone
Meeting Zone
Nomadic Zone
Social Zone
Resource Zone



Five Spatial Zones

When creating a Resilient Workplace, consider the intentional combination of five spatial typologies (zones), designed to accommodate and anticipate changing organizational and employee needs.

The size, ratio and adjacency of each zone should be tailored to match both your business objectives and cultural expectations. The result is an agile workplace that supports change, rather than resists it.

Resident Zone

Resident Zone

Assigned spaces for workers to complete everyday tasks. A space to support both individual focused and collaborative work. Owned amenities like personal storage and uniquely chosen worktools allow workers to personalize their space.

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Meeting Zone

Meeting Zone

A variety of settings to support different forms of collaboration. This zone offers a wide range of connective technologies to support communication and collaboration of teams both physical and distributed

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Nomadic Zone

Nomadic Zone

A welcoming destination for mobile workers to connect with others or find an appropriate space for focus. The Nomadic Zone fosters a range of interactions from short-term to long term with quick and easy access to data and power.

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Social Zone

Social Zone

A comfortable area to socialize, rejuvenate, informally collaborate, focus and seek nourishment. Design considerations can be tailored to a specific team or department’s culture.

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Resource Zone

Resource Zone

A convenient central location that offers worktools and shared materials, as well as an option for personalized assistance and facilitated services.

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Resilient Workplace Planning Ideas

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An owned team space allows team members to display work in progress and share their thinking digitally and on whiteboards.
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When silence is paramount, this library environment gives workers a place to quietly focus on individual tasks.
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Purposefully planned adjacent to resident workspaces, a semi-secluded, relaxed location that offers a change of pace and scenery. This is
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This collaborative setting allows colleagues to display and discuss content instantly and easily. Media: scape enables digital content sharing and
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Adjacent to team areas are two smaller workspaces for individuals and pairs. On the left, a videoconferencing setting supports informative

Proven Spaces


At Steelcase, our own workplaces serve as living labs for our design ideas. We research, develop, refine and evolve our insights on ourselves prior to bringing them to market. These insights help reduce your risk, as you create your own combination of spaces using our design ideas.

Two of our living labs are the Steelcase WorkCafé and our Innovation Center.

Explore our design ideas and tools, and discover what makes each of these proven spaces work and how you can customize your own combination of spaces.

Innovation Center

Innovation drives advancement. That’s always been true – throughout history, in every enterprise and in every part of the world.

An Innovation Center is a solution for organizations that supports collaborators with the range of settings to support the switch between individual and group behaviors. It is a space that communicates a culture of innovation to the employees it houses.

Innovation Center design ideas

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Business tasks today are more varied and more challenging. Workers are increasingly mobile and distributed. They often leave the office for a coffee shop or other third place, which separates them from coworkers, organizational resources and culture.

A WorkCafé is a dynamic space that connects people with colleagues, their work, and their organization. It transforms traditional corporate cafeteria real estate into destinations for connection, collaboration, focus and innovation.

WorkCafé design ideas

Related Research + Insights

360 magazine wellbeing a bottom line issue Open image tooltip
October 20, 2015

Wellbeing: A Bottom Line Issue

Driving the need for these skills is the complexity of problems that organizations face today, and the demand for innovation that is no longer the turf of elite, top brands. Innovation is critical to drive bottom line results.
360 magazine think better Open image tooltip
September 11, 2015

Think Better

It’s fast becoming a deeply-embedded yearning of our time. In workplaces throughout the world, there’s awareness that we’re not performing to full potential and too many distractions are to blame. While the diagnosis may seem clear, most people feel helpless to do anything about it other than to keep working harder at staying focused. But neuroscience research is now shedding new light on the fundamental problem, offering decipherable clues for how to better support attention at work. By integrating the discoveries of neuroscience with their own investigations into worker behaviors and the changing nature of work, the Steelcase WorkSpace Futures team offers new insights and ideas for how workplaces can be reimagined in innovative ways to optimize brain performance.
360 magazine the privacy crisis Open image tooltip
March 27, 2015

The Privacy Crisis

Although workplaces today make it seemingly easy for people to collaborate, most leaders remain dissatisfied with the pace and frequency of breakthroughs.
360 magazine making distance disappear Open image tooltip
February 4, 2015

Making Distance Disappear

In today’s economic landscape organizations can’t allow distance to be a barrier to effective teams. As distributed teams become pervasive, the challenges they face become more evident.
360 magazine six dimensions of wellbeing in the workplace Open image tooltip
October 20, 2015

Six Dimensions of Wellbeing in the Workplace

Wellbeing is a competitive advantage in today’s business world. To achieve it, workers need mental and physical health, nurtured by a supportive environment that gives them the emotional capacity to interpret and experience events.
360 magazine wellbeing thought starters application concepts Open image tooltip
October 20, 2015

Wellbeing Thought Starters: Application Concepts

Informed by insights from our research, we’ve developed some settings that can be a catalyst for intentionally designing work environments that support the physical, cognitive and emotional needs of people at work.
360 magazine building a culture of wellbeing Open image tooltip
October 20, 2015

Building a Culture of Wellbeing

A few months before his upcoming retirement at the end of February 2014, 360 asked former Steelcase CEO, Jim Hackett, to share his perspective on wellbeing and what it means for business leaders and organizations today.
360 magazine boosting workplace wellbeing Open image tooltip
October 20, 2015

Boosting Workplace Wellbeing

Leading organizations know that improved employee wellbeing not only helps people to be healthier and lowers healthcare costs, it also helps them to be more productive, creative and innovative, and less likely to leave for a competitor.

Additional Resources

Insights + Solutions Guide

The Steelcase Global Report is the first to explore the relationship between employee engagement and the work environment. This guide offers specific actions and solutions to create a workplace that helps boost employee engagement.

Register for guide

Inspiring Spaces

Resembling a vibrant community, this dynamic new ecosystem of spaces supports all of the ways people want to work. When thoughtfully curated, these destinations blend design, materiality and performance in a way that creates a vibe and transcends the trends of the day.

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