Get to Know Amy Collins, PDR Director of Design
An Opportunity to Reset
We have the notion of this global pandemic as simply being a slight pause in our world as we knew it. No matter how long it lasts or its impact, I have chosen to shift my focus to seek out the silver lining. I see the opportunity to forever reshape behaviors and habits to change our world for the better. I see that communities have united in the pursuit to survive and overcome these challenges we are facing. I see that the silos of our work lives and our personal lives have come down, giving way to a work life blend that is empowering. I see mother earth healing herself as the daily human impact has lessened on her, bringing more awareness to environmental sustainability. All these positive glimpses into the sea of pandemic turmoil inspire me to imagine our next normal. While it will indeed be different, it can be so much better. If there ever was an opportune time for the world to hit the reset button due to the lessons we are learning, it is now!
One might ask—so where is the silver lining for businesses and their workplaces? After all, the economic impact of this pandemic has driven businesses to rethink every aspect of their organization to meet the demands and/or challenges of the changing world around us. The way we process work may simply never be the same again. And while immersed in this “great work from home experiment,” some are pondering the question, “why even have a physical workplace at all?”. This is a scary thought for all of us who deliver workplace solutions! But as each of our clients uniquely pivot into their next normal, they have the opportunity to reimagine the workplace and redefine the purpose for having it. The silver lining—our next normal can bring us together in a healthier and more meaningful way.
As workplace transformation experts, PDR is motivated by change. We welcome a new challenge to solve. We are driven by this moment to empathetically help our clients to reset—to realign their people, process, and place. As Design Director at PDR, during this crisis I’ve focused a lot of thoughts around redefining design best practices in a post-pandemic world. I’ve developed new considerations around planning strategies, furniture, and materiality to support wellbeing. But above all, I have focused on the people, an organization’s greatest asset, and how the physical workplace can support them best in our next normal. Imagining a blended model where employees are empowered to choose where to work on a daily basis (their home, the office, or anywhere in between), it will be the need for human connection that will renew the purpose for the physical workplace.
Human connection, a powerful vehicle, fosters so many good things—too many to cover here. But as we reimagine the next normal office, three of the most critical may be: brand identity, culture, and innovation.
The workplace should be a platform to amplify the brand, providing a brand experience where employees feel reconnected to the business’ mission, vision, and values. Reminded of the greater goal of the organization, individuals can gain a sense of identity in contrast to others, revealing the value of one’s unique individual impact.
Human connection is necessary to nurture a strong culture that is inclusive, where employees feel they belong, thus supporting their social wellbeing. Studies show that feeling isolated and lonely leads employees to be less engaged, less productive, and less creative. Whereas employees that form meaningful, positive connections at work tend to be more happy, dedicated and motivated to perform their best.
Impromptu collisions that happen in the workplace promote cross-collaboration and cultivate intellectual growth, leading to new innovations that would otherwise be unlikely to happen. Additionally, the overall experience of the workplace can energize and inspire—key attributes of a space that supports a culture of innovation.
As we continue to virtually connect, we all look forward to the day when it will be safe once again to connect in person. Until then, stay inspired on what could be and make changes for the better!