How Design Thinking Can Help Manage Risk, Spur Recovery, Build Resilience and Inspire Reinvention in a Post-COVID World

  • Jill Duncan
  • Kate Davis

Our workplaces are strategic tools for doing business, but like many things during this time, they are sitting dormant. They are not working for us. 

In the rush to re-occupy them we have lost sight of one of the fundamental flaws exposed by the pandemic; work was never a place. It was always a thing we did. 

For decades, we’ve talked about the myriad reasons that workplaces—and more specifically, their design—should put the needs of people first. Above real estate costs, above brand awareness, above management preferences. Now, putting people first is not simply beneficial — it’s pivotal.

In the rush to re-occupy them we have lost sight of one of the fundamental flaws exposed by the pandemic; work was never a place. It was always a thing we did. 

We recommend taking a systems approach to thinking about the future of work. What do you need now to maintain productivity? What changes should you make in the near term to be more resilient when the next crisis impacts your enterprise? And most importantly, for those looking for the best long-term value, how can a future-focused approach position you to transform work for long-term prosperity? 

Since the onset of COVID-19, we’ve witnessed amazing innovation, and a decade’s worth of change has occurred in a matter of months.

The darkness of this pandemic will pass; the moment is transient. Let’s capitalize on this opportunity for transformation.

HKS is already helping our clients take next steps and informing pivotal decisions for asset optimization to create long-term value.  We are here to co-create outcomes inherent and unique to your organization.

Relevant Advisory and Consultative Services

Risk Management and Reboot Readiness:

  • People/Activity/Place Risk Mapping
  • Spatial Organization
  • Technical Upgrades
  • Flex Work Assessment
  • Well-being Assessment 

Recovery Assessment and Investment Prioritization:

  • Place Optimization
  • Culture and Workforce Assessment
  • Change Enablement and Re-Engagement Strategy
  • Mobility Assessment
  • User Experience Assessment
  • Well-being Integration and Sustainability Impacts

Resilience Strategy and Long-Term ROI:

  • Economic prioritization and ROI
  • Macro and Master Planning
  • Process Evaluation
  • Workplace ecosystem development
  • Impact Report & Resiliency Playbook
  • New-Tangibles Design

Click here to access our Returning to Workspaces after COVID-19 guide.

Jill Duncan

Jill Duncan is a Principal and Director of Place Performance at HKS. An interior designer, she works with corporate executives to accomplish strategic outcomes such as visioning, strategy alignment, culture change and workplace change. Jill’s approach starts with sparking a transformational mind-shift that compels organizations to action.

Kate Davis

Kate Davis is a Principal and Director of Commercial Interiors at HKS. Based in Chicago, Kate is a student of her clients' businesses and believes that design can be a strategic business tool. She is a sought-after industry voice on topics ranging from design for creativity and the agile workplace to office building sustainability.