Seventy percent of all employees are disengaged in their work, according to a recent poll by Gallup. With more employees telecommuting and others commuting long ways to a job, it can be a discouraging fact—until you realize there are so many ways to fix it. One way is through better workplace design, as noted through my exploration of the showrooms during NeoCon in Chicago. 

The office furniture manufacturer Haworth has taken on this challenge in a thoughtful way. Principals at the company collaborated with workplace design experts to write the book Change Your Space, Change Your Culture: How Engaging Workspaces Lead to Transformation and Growth.

In it, the writers remind us that design has a powerful effect on our consciousness, and the work environment can evoke excitement, dread, focus or distraction. If they’re not properly designed, business or workplace culture can be affected over time. Many people believe that changing space automatically results in culture change, but the writers say it isn’t necessarily true. There is benefit in designing a new space or redesigning a current space to reflect your preferred culture—making sure that the physical attributes of the space enable the behaviors of that culture. A new space alone won’t guarantee success; change management is an important part of that process.

Haworth explores this notion through creative materials applications. One was the introduction of Bandas Space, a system that blends soft seating with coordinating flooring and pillows, changing what it means to be modular. When paired together, runners and seating give the impression that the furniture flows right into the floor. The same set can be rearranged for different uses and compositions, letting you change the appearance of your space as often as you like. 

The creativity of these modular systems emphasizes that we should all take more care in designing our workspaces. It’s not enough to have neutral flooring, clean walls and functional desks and chairs. Whether your workspace is a flooring showroom, a cubicle in corporate center or a home office, we should all take care to energize our workspaces.

Another commercial opportunity is addressed in this month’s Contractor’s Corner written by Fuse Alliance executive director Geoff Gordon. In it, he addresses how moisture issues have become more challenging over the last couple of years. He recommends that manufacturers and marketers should be more cautious by drawing the line between new construction and renovation. Floor Trends wants to know how commercial contractors are addressing moisture issues from the start of a project. Please share your experiences and advice by writing me at