Episode Overview:

In this episode of Design for an Agile World, host Joe Walker sits down with Dr. Tracy Brower, the VP of Workplace Insights for Steelcase, a global leader in furniture and furniture manufacturing. Steelcase is known for its innovative workplace design ideas that go beyond furniture and focus on how the environment can move the needle.

Dr. Brower emphasizes the significance of designing places that create the conditions for people to do their best. Her research highlights the importance of work in people's lives and how the work environment can affect and influence them.

Joe and Dr. Brower discuss the importance of providing employees with choice and control over their workspaces to increase engagement and discretionary effort. They suggest that adaptable spaces can help remove friction and make it easier for employees to flow between collaborative and individual work. The conversation also touches on the importance of creating a culture of choice that allows employees to work in a variety of spaces that suit their needs.


  • 2:49 – Designing workplaces for people
  • 11:23 – Importance of dimensionality, identity, and well-being in workplace design
  • 12:58 – Exploring agile design in a post-Covid era
  • 16:32 – The relationship between workplace design and employee well-being
  • 20:21 – Workspaces for psychological safety and innovation
  • 25:48 – Stress and learning in the work community
  • 32:55 – Create a culture of empathy in the workplace
  • 34:33 – Work/Life blending

Connect with Dr. Tracy Brower

Dr. Tracy Brower is a Ph.D. sociologist and vice president of workplace insights for Steelcase. She is the author of The Secrets to Happiness at Work and Bring Work to Life, as well as a contributor to Forbes and Fast Company. Her work has been translated into 18 languages, and you can find her at tracybrower.com, LinkedIn, or any of the usual social channels.