What We Learned in Chicago about Designing for Choice in the Workplace

Photos and key takeaways from our July 28 Work Design TALK.

Designing for Choice in the Workplace Chicago (7 of 168)
Photo by Ashley Hamm.

Just like our recent event in D.C., we brought our general “choice in the workplace” TALK to Chicago at the end of July, but with a twist: we didn’t just talk about choice. Instead, we stacked the panel with designers only, and talked about designing for it. Cheryl Durst, the executive vice president and CEO of IIDA, the International Interior Design Association, joined us again as guest moderator, and Discover hosted our sold-out audience in their cutting-edge, 26,000 square foot Discover 606 space, which the company makes available for employees who are working downtown or need a place to touch down between meetings.

The all star panel included Arturo Febry, principal and design director at IA Interior Architects; Chris Lambert, VP of workplace strategy at CannonDesign; Jennifer McCord, director of design at Partners by Design; Gary Miciunas, principal, advisory services at NELSON; and Dean Strombom, a principal at Gensler.

Designing for Choice in the Workplace Chicago (114 of 168)
Photo by Ashley Hamm.

The panelists discussed everything from the importance of a thriving company culture that sets the context for employees to exercise individual choice in the spaces they create to the way the new generation of millennials have helped companies to set new expectations for the choices on offer.

“Offering more variety in work settings has a degree of correlation with measures of increased employee satisfaction, comfort, and well-being,” said Lambert. “Employees value concentration and managing distractions just as much as chances to collaborate, so smart organizations are enabling their teams to navigate easily among spaces designed to support each of these modes of work.”

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Photo by Ashley Hamm.

Beyond designing for a variety of settings, the panel also touched upon the importance of meeting the expectations of a younger generation of employees, to both attract and retain them.

“Close to 50 percent of today’s workforce is [made up of] millennials,” said Febry. “As a generation, they expect state of the art technology.” Febry added that, as a whole, he believes millennials are more productive when presented with a choice of how, when, and where to work.

At the end of the day, Miciunas said that “organizations that convincingly offer both freedom and choice will have a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining talent” — millennial or otherwise.

Scroll for more photos from the event.

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Photo by Ashley Hamm.
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Photo by Ashley Hamm.

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Photo by Ashley Hamm.
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Photo by Ashley Hamm.
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Photo by Ashley Hamm.
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From left to right: Bob Fox, Cheryl Durst, Dean Strombom, Jennifer McCord, Chris Lambert, Arturo Febry, and Gary Miciunas.
A special thank you to our event sponsors:

AgilQuest 150 x 150 NG          BusinessInteriorsbyStaples150x150logo

knoll150x150ng           Discover 150x150 logo

IIDA 150 x 150 NG

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