• Shared Spaces Knoll Planning

Shared Spaces

A variety of spaces for a variety of work

The nature of work today is dynamic—it takes place everywhere and is always in flux. At Knoll, we believe that workplaces should reflect the reality of work today and harness its potential. Workplaces that include shared spaces offer people choices about how to work and where. They complement more traditional primary workspaces by putting people in charge of their work experiences. With thoughtful planning, shared spaces bring value and variety to an organization’s workplace—which means happier people and more longterm productivity, growth, and innovation.

Increasingly, organizations’ most productive and envelope-pushing work takes place in shared spaces. Well-planned shared spaces not only improve workplace dynamics—addressing cultural context, providing amenities, and solving for practical issues, like privacy, for example—but they also connect people to their space and to each other. Because of the exchanges they foster, they are in many ways the cultural heart of today’s workplaces.

Shared spaces play key roles in all planning approaches. They may take the form of go-to spaces for tailored types of activities, or blur the lines and transform at a moment’s notice. They support a variety of work modes and styles, from private calls through team lunches.

The range of Knoll furniture can be tailored to support and enhance the choices people will make at work every day. The space types identified below are settings for all kinds of experiences—team work, individual focus, gatherings, free address work, workplace amenities. A range of materials, furnishings, and spatial elements attract people, support ever-changing tech, and clearly differentiate them from primary work areas. Flexible furniture and adaptable architecture provide people with even more control and choice when it comes to how they work.


The get away  space that enables focused or confidential work, the Refuge is a key room or area for workplace focus.

A small space (~50 sq ft) for one to two people, the typical Refuge may include a video display, wall-mounted whiteboard surface, and adaptable furniture. Or, it may also be an open area with furniture encouraging a sense of privacy.


Enclave spaces are get together areas for collaborative seclusion.

Generally a small open or enclosed space (~100 sq ft), three to four people can work together in enclaves equipped with a desk height table or lower table, work chairs, touchdown seating or work lounge, and digital and analog communication tools.

Team Meeting

For broader gatherings, Team Meeting spaces allow a larger number of people to come to the table.

Typically work rooms for four to eight people (~200 sq ft), Team Meeting spaces may be open or fully enclosed, with a larger table or clustered tables, flexible seating options, work lounge, and digital and analog communication tools.


Assembly spaces are dedicated areas for planned interactions and collaborative work.

Usually large and enclosed, or partially open, group spaces (400+ sq ft or larger), Assembly areas are equipped with multiple display surfaces (tackable, whiteboard and video), credenzas for storage and counters, tables or hospitality carts for refreshments. Assembly spaces, sized for groups of 10 or more, include formal meeting spaces for presentations and training.

CONFERENCE ROOMS, sized for groups of ten or more, are typically formal meeting spaces for presentations. Furnishings include a very large, fixed table with power, data and communications.

TRAINING ROOMS, flexible spaces for multiple activities from education to informal presentations, typically include freely reconfigurable tables and agile chairs.



As town center spaces, Community areas encourage interactions where office culture can flourish.

Commons and Cafés are large, multipurpose spaces for social events or unplanned interactions. And on a smaller scale, ad hoc spaces such as informal seating groups with small tables, lounge furniture groupings, and standing height counters with stools, encourage a similar sense of spontaneous, flexible use. 

Shared Spaces Research

  • Immersive Planning

    Our study revealed a workplace that is dramatically different than one of just a generation ago. Knoll found five significant factors that contribute to a new way of working and drive new thinking about the work environment.

  • Activity Spaces Animated Infographic

    An animated summary of the Knoll Research paper "Activity Spaces."

  • Activity Spaces Infographic

    A visual summary of the Knoll Research paper "Activity Spaces: A Variety of Spaces for a Variety of Work"

  • Creating Collaborative Spaces that Work

    This study presents a view into the future for creating and planning successful spaces that encourage productive exchanges, connection between people and technology, cooperation and sense of community.

  • Activity Spaces

    Activity spaces are “go to” spaces that include several types accessible to everyone as needed, for focused, shared or team tasks, assembly spaces for larger group meetings or training, and community spaces for socializing or casual work.


Related Case Studies

  • Civic Hall Case Study

    Challenged with a highly compressed schedule, Civic Hall, a work-and-community space dedicated to civic technology, partnered with Knoll for design-driven furniture solutions that would allow it to serve its mission.

  • Edward Jones

    Edward Jones, a leader in the financial services industry, takes a highly personal approach to business and its clients. Seeking to maintain its family-like culture and commitment to employee growth while creating a workplace that meets the needs of both today's and tomorrow’s workforce, they turned to Knoll to help study and test new workplace strategies at their St. Louis headquarters.

  • Accela

    Accela, a distributor of a leading engagement platform that powers thousands of services and millions of transactions daily for public agencies worldwide, found itself in need of more space to accommodate its growing staff.

  • University of Portland, Clark Library

    At the University of Portland, administrators and library staff sought to create a space that would serve the digital natives of Generation Y, not only with state-of-the-art technology, but also an environment that supports the highly collaborative way students work and learn today.

  • LogMeIn

    LogMeIn was committed to getting all its employees under one roof and creating an environment that reflected its innovative spirit and appealed to the energetic team behind it.

  • Galvanize 1.0

    Designed to give entrepreneurs and innovators the best chance for a successful launch of their new ventures, Galvanize created an innovation ecosystem, a space defined by growing startups through capital, community and curriculum. Its ecosystem offers support for every phase of the business development process from shared areas for one or two people to large suites for 10 or more. Watch the video to learn more.


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