Modern office design with desk and different levels and standing desk areas

One Size Does Not Fit All: Designing for the Modern Workplace

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Casey Murphy, CID – Director of Projects

The demand for flexibility in the office and what that means varies greatly. Of the approximately 160 million people currently employed in the US, the workforce is comprised of five generations, a multitude of genders, ethnicities, and thinking styles. So, with entirely different experiences and backgrounds, a “one size fits all” approach to facility planning and design no longer works for most corporations. Instead, designing for the modern workplace now includes consideration of a company’s workplace strategy, hybrid work policies, occupancy rates, capacity, and a critical focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion of all employees. This brings about the crucial role of Strategic Facility Planning and Design. Three key pillars to ensuring the ideal modern workplace are workplace strategy, thoughtful design, and efficient facility management. Corporations would do well to partner with a firm specializing in all three pillars to ensure continuity and a holistic approach to their challenges. 


Many corporations today have implemented a hybrid work model. This means it’s paramount to understand how many employees in each department are in on which day of the week. 

Here are considerations that will help you achieve the desired work environment today.


Hybrid and remote work policies raise new logistical concerns for you. This means it’s important to understand how many employees are in each department, on which days of the week, and why.

As someone with responsibility for the place where work happens, as these questions now:

  • Are daily occupancy rates consistent, or do they vary?
  • Which departments have the most people in the office?
  • Who do they collaborate with?
  • What type of work are they performing: heads-down, collaboration, or virtual meetings?

Gathering the data to answer these questions is simple: analyzing badge data, employee surveys, focus group results, and productivity studies. This can transform a confusing jumble of information into a clear, concise set of facts and indicators that will inform the development of a strategic facility plan tailored to the office’s needs.

For example, there may be a maximum of a 30% occupancy rating on any given day of the week, and employees crave various styles. Therefore, consider reducing desking and moving onto a hoteling situation. Conversely, suppose 85% of employees are in on Tuesdays through Thursdays. In that case, it might be best to maintain a one-to-one seating ratio and provide amenities that can be taken advantage of on Mondays or Fridays. 


With an approved facility plan in place, the next step is to design the interior to reinforce your workplace strategy.

A hybrid working model means that employees require a workplace with a “wow” factor, outstanding technology, and wide-ranging spaces that support many different working styles. When competing with people’s homes, the office must offer the same comforts, opportunities, and something “extra” that draws them back to the office.

Spaces That Support Varied Working Styles

  • Soft Seating or Lounge-Style Work Areas
  • Quiet Rooms
  • Huddle Spaces with Technology 
  • Outdoor workspace

The work-life balance, treasured by employees, is compelling corporations to provide convenience offerings on their campuses.

New On-Site Amenity Offerings

  • Dry Cleaning
  • Vehicle Services
  • Gym/Fitness Classes
  • Juice Bars
  • Child or Pet “Daycare”


Developing strategic facility plans and interior design projects rely on successful facility management throughout implementation. Major and minor tasks can pull someone away from the core business, such as asset management, on-site supervision, and budgeting.

Incorporating additional or modified facility management techniques to maintain the new Strategic Plan and Workplace Design might be needed.

Advanced technologies can ease stress and lower the costs of managing the facility after project completion. This technology can range from something as simple as a Mobile Application for smartphones that allows staff to book a desk all the way to the incorporation of Building Information Modeling (BIM) software. BIM can be incredibly detailed, notifying the facilities team when air filters need to be changed, alerting a leak, or monitoring sun infiltration and adjusting window shades as required. In addition, they can serve as a tremendous organizational tool for tracking employees with move/add/changes.  


Above all, it is essential to understand the dynamic relationship between the planning, design, and management sectors when designing for the modern workplace. Each step in the process informs and supports the next. While they are all separate areas of the Interior Design process, they work together like the instruments in an orchestra. They can seamlessly synthesize into a well-performing facility symphony that supports flexible schedules and diverse working styles.

How do we know? This is what we do for our clients every day. The HF Planners, LLC team of facility planners, designers, and managers are well-versed in all aspects of projects that impact your organization, and it’s we love doing it!

Take the first step: Contact us today to schedule a time to talk so we can learn more about what you’d like to accomplish and explore how we might support your team and bring your space to life in today’s environment