The Privacy Solution

Although privacy is a universal need in workplaces, personal preferences, spatial contexts and cultural norms are key factors for successfully designing environments for privacy.

Conference Enclave

Optimizing Your Real Estate to Give Employees Greater
Choice and Control

Although privacy is a universal need in workplaces, personal preferences, spatial contexts and cultural norms are key factors for successfully designing environments for privacy, say Steelcase Advanced Applications designers.

Highly differentiated settings ensure that users can choose their best place based on task, mood and personality, making the experience of privacy personal. Context is a key consideration; the same type of privacy setting can provide very different experiences depending on its adjacency, location and level of exposure to what surrounds it. Context determines what type of boundary will be most successful in any given location and, therefore, how much the spaces will be used. Cultural values and perceptions—both geography-based and organizational—must be respected and enabled within the design.

It’s important to keep in mind that boundaries to private spaces can be open, shielded or enclosed, to support individuals working alone or together in teams. In addition to having spaces for personal retreat, being able to have private conversations or do focused work together are important dimensions of workplace privacy; meeting the full range of privacy needs requires providing for pairs or small groups as well as individuals. Planning should also recognize that, when supported by strong organizational protocols, personal privacy can be achieved in designated “together” spaces.


Privacy Distribution Framework

Inspired by our research, we have identified several different planning approaches that solve for privacy within a workplace floor plan. The best option for any organization depends on its culture, workforce mobility strategy, processes, protocols and real estate holdings:

The Privacy Solution, The Privacy Crisis, 360 Magazine
Distributed Model.
Distributed private spaces embedded throughout a workplace provide on-demand privacy experiences, in which workers can switch between collaborative and focused modes of work rapidly with the convenience of readily available “escape places.” Adjacency to traffic paths is a key attribute of this approach, and quantity and variety are other important considerations.
The Privacy Solution, The Privacy Crisis, 360 Magazine
Zone Model.
A separate zone space serves as an exclusive privacy hub, much like the quiet zone of a library. This approach supports planned, longer-duration privacy experiences with a portfolio of settings. In addition to variety, the success of a destination space depends on users’ respect for privacy protocols that reflect the organization’s commitment to its importance.

A combination of the distributed and zone models provides the best of both approaches: convenient access to on-demand privacy and the ability to plan ahead for guaranteed privacy as needed.

Private Enclaves

These three small individual private spaces provide a range of solutions that support the varied modal transitions in a worker’s day. Intended for short-term use, they offer a place to get away for rejuvenation or to connect virtually with others. The adjacency to the work zone offers easy access to support spontaneous needs. The range of products provide a relaxed posture in the lounge settings with support for your personal device or belongings. And the media:scape Kiosk provides a high-tech connection and sharing capability.

Private Enclaves, The Privacy Crisis, 360 Magazine

  • Boundary: Enclosed
  • Enclosed: Deep focus, Rejuvenation
  • Privacy Modes: Deep focus, Rejuvenation
  • Posture: Lounge/Prone, Stool/Stand
  • Privacy Principle: Selective Exposure, Entrusted Confidence, Intentional Shielding
  • Products Shown: V.I.A., Coalesse Wing Chair, Regard, Details Soto, media:scape Kiosk


1.1 Project Space

A shared camp for dyadic work. With a quick switch between task focused work and informal lounge connection this space is very hard working and available when needed.

This space is shared and available for users to schedule for short or long durations. The users can own and manage their surroundings when needed with the technology to share seamlessly integrated.

The walls support amplification that optimizes sharing and team work while the lounge offers a place to extend the collaboration in a more informal way. The walls provide a boundary to protect the team while allowing connection to the open office space.

1:1 Project Space, The Privacy Solution, 360 Magazine

  • Boundary: Shielded
  • Privacy Modes: Deep Focus, Shallow Focus
  • Posture: Lounge/Prone, Task
  • Privacy Principle: Entrusted Confidence, Intentional Shielding
  • Products Shown: V.I.A., FrameOne, Gesture, Details Worktools Soto, turnstone Campfire, turnstone Depot/Big Depot


Conference Enclave

A private place to connect virtually to one or many. This space is tailored to the individual and allows the user to be fully immersed in the meeting with easy access from the workspace.

The technology is optimized for 1-2 people to be on video. The posture and step in and out access supports meeting needs for short meetings.

The media:scape offers quick amplification and content sharing with power access. The work surface supports the users materials with a secondary surface for personal items. A stool could be included for longer duration of go without for quick connections. Lighting can be used as a signaling device.

The Privacy Crisis, Conference Enclave

  • Boundary: Enclosed
  • Privacy Modes: Deep Focus
  • Posture: Task, Stool/Stand
  • Privacy Principle: Selective Exposure, Intentional Shielding
  • Products Shown: V.I.A., Gesture, media:scape Kiosk, RoomWizard, Elective Elements, Airtouch, FlexFrame


Personal Retreat

Inspiring I space that offers the ability to get away without going away, supporting mindfulness and authenticity for an individual.

With a shield to the adjacent nomadic camp the user can gain a quick reprieve, get comfortable and focus or allow the mind to wander. User has control over their visibility, access to others and choice of where to work, The space supports bringing your own technology, or simply unplugging for short term use.

The panels offer a boundary, screening interruption from adjacent work areas. The chair provides lounge posture, with a swivel base and storage in the ottoman. The storage is a place to drop your belongings with easy access and a wardrobe for coat storage. The lighting is adjustable for task use.

Personal Retreat, The Privacy Solution, 360 Magazine

  • Boundary: Shielded
  • Privacy Modes: Shallow Focus, Rejuvenation
  • Posture: Lounge/Prone
  • Privacy Principle: Intentional Shielding, Purposeful Solitude
  • Products Shown: Answer, Elective Elements, Dash, Coalesse Massaud


Shielded Conversation Lounge

Easily accessible, this is a place for 2-6 people to have a quick conversation without disrupting others. The canopies help contain sound, plus create visual and territorial separation from the rest of the work group. Lounge seating is comfortable and informal, and tables support personal devices and other necessary items.

Shielded Conversation Lounge, The Privacy Solution, 360 Magazine

  • Boundary: Shielded
  • Privacy Modes: Shallow Focus
  • Posture: Lounge/Prone
  • Privacy Principle: Entrusted Confidence, Intentional Shielding
  • Products Shown: media:scape Lounge, Coalesse Lagunitas


Connect Hub

Face-to-face conversation and confidential content-sharing are optimized in this enclosed enclave adjacent to a gathering space. Workers control the lighting and sound levels within the space. Integrated power in the lounge seating accommodates personal technology devices, and their digital content can be shared on a wall-mounted monitor.

Connect Hub, The Privacy Solution, 360 Magazine

  • Boundary: Enclosed
  • Privacy Modes: Deep Focus, Shallow Focus
  • Posture: Lounge/Prone
  • Privacy Principle: Entrusted Confidence, Intentional Shielding
  • Products Shown: V.I.A., c:scape, Regard, RoomWizard


Privacy Zone 1

With a library vibe, this area provides spaces where workers can go to read, reflect, rejuvenate or do focused work. Informal spaces with lounge seating and wood storage create quiet retreats. Enclosed spaces offer even greater separation and privacy.

Products shown:

  • Open: Coalesse Massaud, Coalesse Lagunitas, Elective Elements
  • Shielded: Coalesse Massaud, Elective Elements, Coalesse Lagunitas
  • Enclosed: c:scape, Coalesse Trees, Coalesse Joel, Coalesse Denizen, Details Walkstation, Regard, V.I.A.


Privacy Zone 2

Spaces for focus and concentration retain a sense of energy through proximity and transparency to colleagues. Individual workstations with screens to minimize distractions are available for focused work. For greater privacy there are enclosed and semi-enclosed spaces for one or two people. A nearby lounge space supports more relaxed postures and contemplation.

Privacy Zone 2, The Privacy Solution, 360 Magazine

Products shown:

  • Open: cobi, Elective Elements, turnstone Bivi, turnstone Depot/Big Depot
  • Shielded: Coalesse Lagunitas, Universal Tables, V.I.A., RoomWizard
  • Enclosed: V.I.A., RoomWizard


Privacy Zone 3

Privacy is all about choice, and this zone offers a broad range of visual, acoustical and territorial privacy options. People can select from a variety of different spaces, including a fully enclosed Susan Cain Quiet Space (Green Room) and shielded nooks and individual workstations for deep focus.

Privacy Zone 3, The Privacy Solution, 360 Magazine

Products shown:

  • Open: Elective Elements
  • Shielded: Answer, AirTouch, Coalesse Lagunitas, Gesture, V.I.A., Soto
  • Enclosed: Coalesse Lagunitas, Coalese Holy Day Table, V.I.A., RoomWizard

Organizations need more innovation—Most organizations know that they aren’t achieving the full potential of their workforce day-to-day, but fewer have figured out how to achieve the level of engagement they need. Learn more about The Privacy Crisis.

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