The workplace is valuable tool for fostering connections among people – connections that help build a sense of belonging at work.
According to a Towers Watson Global Workforce Study, 65 percent of people are unsatisfied with their work.* While there are many factors that contribute to this dissatisfaction, a leading cause, as business expert Henry Mintzberg puts it, is “the depreciation in companies of community, or people’s sense of belonging to and caring for something larger than themselves.”**
At Herman Miller, we believe the workplace is a valuable tool for fostering connections among people, giving them a sense of pride in their work, and helping them feel like they are contributing to something meaningful and important. So does Earl S. Swensson, founder of the Nashville-based architecture firm ESa, who considers every person in the firm family.
After several successful years, ESa was growing—both in accounts and employee headcount. When their leadership team noticed that employees were struggling to stay connected with one another across five floors of partitioned office space, they knew it was time for a change.
A trip to Herman Miller’s Design Yard in Holland, Michigan—a working showroom where Living Office insights come to life—inspired their design for two open, light-filled floors that would be their new office. The space offers plenty of opportunity for collaboration. It’s also fostering a strong sense of belonging among employees, and helping to improve knowledge sharing, increase efficiency, and even attract talented new employees
* Towers Watson 2012 Global Workforce Study.
** “Rebuilding Companies as Communities,” Henry Mintzberg, Harvard Business Review, July-August 2009.