Recommended readings on workplace design

The architectural firm Gensler has created a division focused entirely on designing workspaces for media organizations. Its past clients include The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News, The Guardian, The New York Times and others. The company has posted case studies and photo galleries of their solutions for a variety of news, media and entertainment companies.

Architectural and consulting firms frequently publish research and whitepapers on common issues in workplace design. Here are a few resources to help you make decisions on some of the issues addressed in this study.

“Me” vs. “we” space

Cultivating innovation

Design for change

Human-centered design

Designing for culture

Moving the Newsroom: Post-Industrial News Spaces and Places” offers an in-depth look at the industry’s first wave of newsroom redesign, featuring before-and-afters of the relocations of The Seattle Times, the Miami Herald, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and The Des Moines Register between 2011 and 2013.

Show and tell

Several of the newsrooms featured in this study gave their audiences behind-the-scenes looks at their renovations.

Reporters at The Washington Post took a playful approach in documenting their relocation.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette bid a fond farewell to its historic location in this heartfelt piece by Michael Fuoco. The paper also produced a video tour of the new space prior to move-in.

Quartz’s staff devoted a Medium page called The Office to their relocation, with employees candidly sharing their perspectives and problem-solving. The blog includes several floor plans that were being considered at the time and architectural renderings.

Quartz’ new space design was shared with staff in a series of floor plans, which evolved as changes were made in the design process. Virtual renderings helped staff envision the new space in rich detail.


Office Snapshots is a crowdsourced resource for browsing unique office spaces and floor plans, with images sorted by categories such as lighting, digital displays, meeting spaces and work areas. Sites like this can help you create what designers call a “mood board” — a collection of inspirational photos and color references to share with staff and architects. (Here’s Quartz’s mood board.)

Cool Office Interiors showcases creative spaces around the world, including offices of technology companies such as eBay, Google and Skype.

Pinterest is another way to find examples of office designs and inspiration for everything from graphic wall art to office furniture. It can help you build your mood board as you embark on the process.

Sample staff survey

Here’s a modified version of the survey that The Center for Investigative Reporting used before its relocation and remodel. Use it as a starting point for your own staff survey.

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You also might be interested in:

  • This is a column on how to measure well-being for yourself and your organization. By the end, you’ll have a clear direction and quantitative ways to chart a healthy path forward for your journalists.

  • Experts define moral injury as the suffering that comes from witnessing, perpetrating or failing to prevent events that violate one’s own deeply held moral beliefs and values. It is not classified as a mental illness, but it can lead to depression, substance abuse or burnout, which is one reason news managers need to understand the phenomenon of moral injury — and ways to address it or head it off.

  • For many newsrooms, changing the systems that protect unhealthy culture could be a few sustained decisions away from reality.