Designed to mesh with human behavior
In designing Renew Link, Brian Alexander was acutely aware that some organizations are choosing to condense their real estate footprint. They’re doing so as much to control costs as to foster collaboration: putting everyone at a bench setup means someone has simply to turn left or right to converse with a coworker. Alexander knew there was great merit to this thinking. His challenge was to bring a new level of individual choice to these shared work environments.
A studious observer of human behavior, especially in the workplace, Alexander noted that, “High density and low privacy can lead to high distraction and low performance. Working in close proximity increases the odds of people being distracted by sound, movement, or simply by feeling the presence of others nearby.” Addressing these distractions to make benching better is the idea behind Renew Link.
By staggering the work surfaces at a shallow angle, Alexander dramatically reduced one of the biggest sources of distraction: looking up from one’s work and being met by the gaze of a coworker directly across the bench. Yet, the proximity that promotes interaction remains. A straightforward yet very insightful accommodation results from Alexander’s human-centered approach to design. “Giving people a new level of individual choice in shared work environments,” he says, “shows respect for the contributions they make to an organization by helping them to be as comfortable and productive as possible.”