As companies prioritize innovation among today’s employees, the demand for spaces that inspire ideas and encourage interaction is accelerating. In this month’s design news aggregate, we explore the rising role of creativity and social connection in the office and the resulting impact on workplace design.

The Social Component

The benefits of socializing at work are evident in recent research, and as a result, modern organizations are offering settings that foster conversation and informal gatherings. Entrepreneur highlights the Diageo office, in which people meet at the on-site bar for creative collaboration.

For workplaces without a café or bar, New York Magazine discusses offering elevated seated desks or standing height alternatives that situate people at the eye level of colleagues walking past. Coalesse introduced the Potrero415 Table in a standing height to accommodate this need and enhance opportunities for connection and collaboration.

Forbes explores the ways in which Steelcase has made face-to-face interactions a priority. The company relocated its leadership space to the main floor to encourage open communication and trust.

Promoting Creativity & Innovation

While social connection often leads to fresh ideas, employers are also incorporating settings specifically designed to inspire creative thinking.

Microsoft and Steelcase have partnered to develop Creative Spaces, a series of technology-enabled spaces designed with creative thinking at the forefront. Meanwhile, Entrepreneur suggests art curation in the office to stimulate new ideas, and Work Design Magazine explores the effects of unique wall graphics.

Beyond inspirational interiors, tech companies like Apple and Google are leading the drive for environments that foster innovation through building infrastructure. The proposed Google design includes a solar paneled roof, while the new Apple campus is designed to promote feelings of openness and connection to the surrounding nature.

Finding The Right Balance

With the influx of open and collaborative areas for creative work and socializing, privacy has become a main concern for employers. Work Design Magazine proposes that a thoughtful balance of enclosed and communal environments helps creativity thrive. Entrepreneur echoes this sentiment with a suggestion for modular solutions, which foster spontaneous collaboration and enable solo brainstorming when needed. The impact of diversified workspaces is considerable: Gensler research suggests that innovative organizations are five times more likely to have a balance of group and singular work areas.

Fast Co Design explores research indicating that the most significant factor for employer innovation is the ability to adapt and respond to change. Successful companies are accommodating the shifting needs of today’s workforce by providing spaces that foster social connection and creativity, without compromising on privacy, to offer the best employee experience.