Companies that intentionally create spaces that stimulate social connection in the office are onto something. They know that by encouraging people to relax and talk, to listen and exchange ideas face to face, they cultivate trust among employees — and promote the soft skills so greatly needed in our tech-saturated world.
Social settings — spaces that entice people to pause and engage in conversations — function best when outfitted with products designed with social connection in mind. Let’s look at a few ideas designers can use to support the social mindset.
Comfortable lounge settings like the one above, with the Millbrae Lifestyle 3-Seat Lounge and the Carl Hansen & Son Collection Wing Chair CH445, encourage people to relax and even recline at work. Adopting less-formal postures makes it easier for colleagues to let down their guard and strike up conversations across functional areas. In a lounge or relaxed in-between space, seating that promotes “leaned back” postures can contribute to a stronger sense of engagement and belonging in the workplace.
Softly curving lounge furniture does much more than carve out space in a room. It also extends a welcome, drawing people into the circle and encouraging discussions to bubble up organically. A great example is the open lounge pictured above, featuring the naturally curving Circa Lounge System. This modular system, with optional ganging tables, creates a pocket of space for a cup of coffee and conversation among colleagues. Consider gentle contours as you design “third place” settings in the workplace.
Some of the best ideas are born on the fly, in chance encounters between colleagues passing on their way from here to there. Designers can build in opportunities for these impromptu exchanges with strategically placed standing-height tables. Pictured above is the versatile Potrero415 Light Table, paired with the Enea Café Wood Stool. This slender standing-height table provides an inviting platform for a quick conversation, even in a small space. It sets the stage for social spontaneity.
For more ideas on promoting social connection in the workplace, see our Inspiration Gallery.
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