Infusing Social Spaces for Collaboration in a Workspace

(And How to Tweak Them for Physical Distancing)

Social spaces may briefly change during the pandemic, but soon they will be in all office spaces.

Earlier this year, we claimed on our blog that Social Spaces are the Next Evolution of How We Work. Within a month of this post being published, our entire team was working from home due to the growing concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic. While today many of us are back working from our newly remodeled showroom, most of the social spaces throughout it are not being used in the way that they were originally designed. It’s truly amazing to think about what a difference a few months can make!


Eventually (…one day), things will shift back toward normal. The social spaces throughout our showroom that we love will be able to once again be frequently used for collaborative meetings, brainstorming sessions, and casual conversations. 

Why We Focused on Adding Social Spaces

For a short explanation, we think that Haworth says it well: “When given the choice, people are drawn to the places that make them feel the best and most productive. What we’ve known as the “office” has evolved into a place of social context—way more collaborative than it’s ever been. After all, interaction with colleagues makes us happiest at work. These restorative activities are just as critical to the creative process as high-focus work—and significant for innovation to occur. Social spaces are flexible, communal, and inspiring, so people can pause, gather, connect, and refresh.”

“the “office” has evolved into a place of social context—way more collaborative than it’s ever been.”

Here’s a few other reasons why we believe the use of social spaces will continue to grow in office design into the future:

Where We Incorporated Social Spaces

Prior to our remodel, we already had a handful of social spaces throughout our space. For adding additional spaces, we targeted our lobby area, lounge areas, and retreat areas to give our team more options to aid in every style of work. We learned that, in any given week, we have a dozen different meetings, all with various focuses, technology needs, and amounts of people in attendance that would all benefit from a tailored space. Here are a few of our new spaces and the products we used in each: 

Lounge & Retreat Area

360° view of our lounge area adjacent to our materials library and one group of our workstations includes the new Haworth Cabana Lounge, Haworth Harbor Work Lounge Chairs, and a Haworth Openest Chick Pouf

Reception Lounge & Retreat Area

360° view of our lounge area adjacent to our reception area includes an OFS Hinchada modular sofa, Haworth Poppy Lounge Chairs, an OFS Denro Side Table, an OFS Lotiv Pull-Up Table, and a Haworth Lana Standing Lamp.

Lounge Conference Room

360° view of our lounge conference room built with Haworth Riverbend Sofas and Jive Side Tables. The glass walls are Enclose Moveable Walls by Haworth, which were relocated from another part of the showroom during the remodel.

Picnic Table Collaboration Area

360° view of our open collaboration area built around a BuzziPicNic Table. The space is set apart by using two NC-B Bookcases to create division.

Duft & Watterson Lounge Area

360° view of a new lounge area on our second floor. The space is set apart using Haworth Openest Plume and 3form Divy Partitions. The lounge furniture is Haworth Openest Feather and a Chick Pouf with a Haworth Pip Table.

How We Can Tweak Our Social Spaces for Physical Distancing

Every social space is different, so how we tweak to accommodate for physical distancing changes based on the products in a space. Some of the main concerns we look to address across every space are:

Because we are a working showroom, we have left many of our social spaces intact without implementing physical distancing measures. In the case of these spaces, we simply do not use them with multiple people or always make sure to distance while sitting in them. In all social spaces, we have Clorox at the ready and pillows have been swapped out to have removable and washable covers. We’ve created protocols that ensure all spaces are cleaned immediately after use as well as all surfaces being wiped down multiple times a day. If your team is operating in an office space that needs physical distancing measures in place, here’s a few examples of how we could tweak the social spaces in our showroom to allow for safe, continued use:

Before After
Before After
Before After
Before After
Before After

Keeping our team safe during this pandemic is a huge priority, especially within our social spaces. We are learning and adapting every day to ensure that protocols are up-to-date and working to keep people safe. 

If you are looking to build some additional social spaces in your office or are in need of help reconfiguring for physical distancing, contact us below!

Interested in Learning More About Social Spaces?

We would love to help your team think through how to incorporate social spaces throughout your office. Or if you already have social spaces, we would be happy to help you think through how to implement physical distancing measures and protocols to keep your team safe.