How are people spreading joy at home? Our #AdobeLife at Home series is all about highlighting how our community of passionate employees are doing just that. Through this series, we’ll be featuring Adobe employees who want to teach our readers new skills—from emotional wellbeing tips to creative online classes. Here’s how they’re spreading joy.
Adobe Workplace Design expert Kate Judson (Senior Program Manager for Workplace Effectiveness) shares five tips for designing a great workspace at home. Check out her video and learn more about Kate in her Q&A.
Tell us how you got started! How did you get into architecture and workspaces?
From a very early age, I recognized that design can make (or break) the human experience. My childhood home was thoughtfully designed to accommodate everyone in our family, including my brother Sam, who has special needs and uses a wheelchair. But public places were another story. Physical and logistical barriers added stress to family outings. I still fume when I see a sidewalk curb that’s not cut!
In college, I set out to understand the psychology and neuroscience of design, which included conducting research in evolutionary psychology (i.e., playing with monkeys) and infant cognition (i.e., playing with babies). Starting my career in architecture was an opportunity to apply my studies by creating environments that respond to human needs. After a few years in architecture, I shifted gears and joined a design-driven consulting firm. At SYPartners I helped organizations like Google, Facebook, Starbucks, and the Gates Foundation to imagine the future they want to create and build the strategies, culture, and capabilities to make that vision real.
The workplace is where my interests collide: human psychology, organizational effectiveness, and purpose-driven design. Workplaces are complex ecosystems. They need to serve individuals, teams, the business, the surrounding community, and the environment—all of which have different needs that are constantly evolving. Workplaces can shape culture, belonging, and wellbeing, all while helping people do their best work. I’m energized every day by this opportunity to help our employees and business thrive.
Why do you think workplace design is so important both at home and in the office?
I think about this on three levels: individual, organizational, and societal.
At the individual level, the average person spends about a third of their life working. That’s a big chunk of time. Whether working in an office, at home, or on a tropical beach, the physical environment can significantly shape our health and wellbeing, our sense of purpose and belonging, the relationships we build, and the things we create.
At the organizational level, workplace design can have a profound effect on business performance. Our environments shape how teams collaborate, the ideas we come up with, and the decisions we make. The design of our offices also signals to the world what we stand for—our company’s mission, values, and brand.
At the societal level, workplaces are the engines of our economy and part of the fabric of civic life. They make up trillions of square feet in global real estate. The way we design them has implications for everything from community development to public health to climate change. I believe that designing more purpose-led, human-centered, planet-friendly work environments (including at home) is key to creating a better world.
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