Holistic Workplace

An Activity-Based Office Strategy

Development of New Work interior concepts for a well-known multi-national corporation.


One of the largest auto producers realised they would need to rethink the way their employees were working around the globe. They launched a New Work initiative in early 2021 and brought the strategy team at HENN in as partners. We were tasked wtih creating a fitting spatial solutions that fit the wider strategy.




Q3/Q4 2021


-Experience Design,
-Interior Design,


Programming Team @ Henn Architects

Due to its complexity, the project consists of three parts:

1. Defining the Holistic Workplace
2. Activity based interior design
3. Optmization of architectural planning

Each segment would build upon the previous one to create a holistic strategy for the company's New Work Initiative. The deliverable of each segment was a through documentation meant to aid future project mangers, globally tasked with creating and implementing a contemporary workplaces in both existing and new [confidential client] offices.

1. Defining the Holistic Workplace

The future of work means combining the best of different collaboration models in a needs-oriented way. The Holistic Workplace Strategy sees itself as a flexible tool kit that considers the diversity of the company and forms a framework for different fields of action. It is the [confidential client’s] workplace strategy and office space concept. Holistic Workplace provides suggestions and guidelines on how to achieve larger transformational goals in practice.

Holistic workplace enables:

  • -More variety in work spaces.

  • -Greater spatial flexibility: dynamic spatial scenarios and consistent usage across site.

  • -3 main Areas of activity are created: Focus, Recharge und Collaborate

  • -Expansion of space offerings for virtual collaboration and hybrid meetings.

  • -Mobile work and a greater percentage of collaborative workspace enable an efficient desk sharing ratio.

Focus, Collaborate and Recharge

Holistic Workplace is based on the concept of "activity-based working". This concept offers employees three different areas. The result is a diverse range of spaces in which employees can freely choose where they want to work, depending on the task at hand. All areas are shared. Even desks are no longer personally assigned, and are reduced in number according to needs. The Holistic Workplace Strategy enables flexible and location-independent working.

2.Activity-Based interior Design

To meet the changing needs of employees throughout the day, 34 room modules of varying sizes and functionality were developed. They are intended as a guide for planning and future furnishings. The options also represent the dynamic and ever-changing work requirements to which the work environment must adapt.
The room module catalog forms the basis for the real estate projects. Not every room module has to be used in every project. Depending on the location, project- specific adaptations may be necessary.


The space offered is tailored to the needs of the respective users and their working methods. Employees can actively participate in the planning and design of their working environment. This includes a room where parents can bring their children to work when childcare is not available.

Spatial Diversity

Different areas for teamwork, concentrated and creative work, meetings and recreation. The rooms are designed differently: from corporate to casual. From [confidential client corporation] to individual brand presentation. From functional to flashy.


Departments or projects have a place where their work is concentrated and a meeting point where work status becomes visible. Here the employee has his/her locker, meets direct colleagues and team members, and is welcomed every day.

Furniture Catalog

An overview and description of all available furniture for each of the modules was created. This assists project managers to quickly and easily find and order the furniture they need when leading a fit-out.

3. Optimising Architectural Planning

A theoretical, "test" building was designed to help with proof-of-concept. It is a standardised rectangular office building with a courtyard, and has been optimised in terms of area, costs and space program. Although the reference building is not a real project, it has been planned to the level of detail required for any office project in the initial phase.

Desk Sharing Factor Feasibility

A desk sharing factor of 1:1.8 can be achieved with mobile working hours of about two days per week. Employees always have sufficient work options at their disposal. Central, shared areas are strengthened, e.g., by a deep- work zone.
The derivation of the desk sharing factor is possible, based on the needs of the users in the building. Feasibility studies were done for the units in the building in order to show how the space and furnishings would change based on desk-sharing requirements.