Like many companies post-lockdown, BOS Holdings, a 100% employee-owned Haworth dealership headquartered in Chicago, was grappling with how to respond to vastly different workforce expectations. They wanted to know, “what does the workplace of the future look like?”¹
To answer that question, they had many discussions, completed surveys and research, and sourced input from partners and external sources. Ultimately they discovered that there was no single answer to the question at hand, but they knew they wanted their headquarters to be a place where people felt safe and inspired to do their best work. In order to bring that vision to life, they needed to infuse the space with elements that champion health and wellness. That’s where their partnership with Ambius comes in.
BOS had a vision and it was our job to bring it to life, so the two teams sat down to establish a clear path forward. Soon after, the Ambius design team got to work selecting plants and greenery that best fit the characteristics and needs of the space.
Together with the abundance of natural light and open floor plan, we were able to help create a workspace that promotes performance and well-being by bringing the outdoors inside.
By maintaining constant communication, BOS was able to navigate the changes of the pandemic era quite well. They maintained complete transparency with team members, allowing them to keep a pulse on colleague sentiment during and post-lockdown. When the team members returned to the office, they were incredibly pleased with the transformation.
“People love the new space. The plants from Ambius are a huge hit and people enjoy the welcoming social spaces and collaboration areas.” – George Lucas Pfeiffer, CMO
According to WorkDesign Magazine, “Employee owners expressed the importance of abundant communication and appreciated being involved in the planning process ahead of the refresh. BOS continues to solicit feedback from team members and [has] already incorporated numerous adjustments and improvements suggested through their proactive listening and feedback process.”²
By implementing a design that affords them the agility to change with the times, BOS can continue to adapt and meet the needs of its employee-owners, no matter what the future holds.
5 things to learn from BOS
1. Go green
First and foremost (our favorite takeaway), make the workplace feel grounded with nature! The benefits of adding plants to a workspace abound. From reducing stress and boosting creativity to improving air quality and reducing background noise, plants are a surefire way to improve your space, especially in high-traffic areas.
In the case of BOS, we used real plants, but artificial plants can have benefits too. Not only do they look beautiful, but they also still foster a nature connection (and they’re low maintenance!).
2. Elements of nature
Bringing nature indoors doesn’t just have to be about adding plants. You can also foster a connection by utilizing natural elements like wood and stone in the furniture, floors, or walls. Even artwork depicting natural scenes has been shown to have the effect of exposure to nature. Water features are another great way to incorporate while engaging multiple senses.
Read about the connection between biophilia and humans’ innate desire to be near water, here.
3. Access to fresh air
When asked which workspace features were most important to them, 62% of respondents in our 2020 survey named clean, pure and healthy air.³ Not only is clean air an indicator of a hygienic space but the reverse can actually be detrimental. Another Ambius survey revealed that almost half of workers in the US had taken a day off because the air quality in their office had made them ill.⁴
From dust and chemicals to poor air circulation and VOC emissions from some carpeting and office furniture, there are many factors that contribute to poor air quality in the workplace. Luckily, there are also things that can help to mitigate these risks. And it’s important that employers know about these solutions, as four out of five workers consider it to be the employer’s responsibility to maintain high indoor air quality in the office.⁴ Air purifiers, such as VIRUSKILLER™ units, can complement existing HVAC systems, helping to halt the invisible threats that visitors and staff face each day.
4. Leave room for light
If you’ve ever stepped out into the sunlight and instantly felt a little better, you know how important it is to overall well-being. In fact, sunlight can actually make you happier and stronger. Exposure to sunlight boosts the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that influences things like memory, happiness, body temperature regulation, and even hunger. Sunlight also triggers the chemical and metabolic chain reaction that produces vitamin D.
Ideally, employees would have a direct line of sight to windows or glass walls. But office architecture doesn’t always allow for that. For areas in which direct sunlight isn’t feasible, natural light lamps can help give people access to the natural light their bodies crave.
5. Facilitate open discussion
BOS kept its employee-owners involved throughout the redesign, communicating transparently and often. Open communication was important to the employees and they appreciated the inclusion in such a monumental project. Even now, BOS continues to ask for feedback and suggestions from their workforce. Through this feedback process, they’ve already been able to make adjustments and improvements for the betterment of the company.
To discover what a partnership with Ambius could do for your space, get in contact with one of our experts today.
¹BOS Holdings. (2022). Modern Workplace Experience. Roselle, IL.
²Weckerling, E. (2022, May 25). BOS HQ redesign emphasizes the importance of biophilia. Work Design Magazine. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from https://www.workdesign.com/2022/05/bos-hq-redesign-emphasizes-the-importance-of-biophilia/
³Ambius. (2020). Workplace well-being: returning to work. https://www.ambius.com/offices/workplace-well-being-returning-to-work/
⁴Ambius. (2019). Ambius Air Quality Survey. https://www.ambius.com/offices/air-quality-survey/
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