Rethinking the Remote Workspace
Ames, IA | | 1 Semester | Spring 2021
How might we introduce flexible work spaces into the home so that it is better equipped for remote work?
Role: User Experience Designer, Industrial Designer
Tasks: Empathize. Research. Ideate. Prototype. Test.
Since the stay-at-home orders starting in March of 2020, there has been a monumental shift to work from home. In fact, 84% of workers report that they want to continue telecommuting (at least part-time) even after the pandemic.
With today’s advanced technology, companies have been able to largely support this shift while maintaining their operations, some of which, even extending the option to work remotely (at least part-time) post-pandemic.
As we begin to move from the emergency phase of reacting to COVID-19 to longer term planning, it is worth understanding the employee’s remote work environment as it relates to their comfort, performance and satisfaction.
Researchers have learned that “spaces can be designed to produce specific performance outcomes—productivity in one space, say, and increased innovation in another, or both in the same space but at different times” (Workspaces that Move People, Harvard Business Review). This is why so many companies have aimed to redefine the workplace, recognizing that some of the most innovative ideas are not taking place in a cubicle. Think: standing desks, flexible workplaces, and in-office yoga studios.
However, there is a significant gap between the progress being made within office walls and that of the at-home workplace. I believe that the research, knowledge, and technology is there, but it has yet to be integrated into the home environment, and it must be affordable (and desirable) to the individual worker in order to succeed.
I hope you found this project as interesting as I do. To see my entire process, check out the link above!