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Inclusive Design: Exploring Respite, Place Attachment & Hoteling - with Ryan Anderson
Episode 372nd January 2024 • Happy Space Podcast with Clare Kumar • Clare Kumar
00:00:00 00:47:05

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MillerKnoll’s Ryan Anderson shares his research and talks about the benefits of respite spaces, place attachment, recognizing your own belonging cues at work, and how being intentional about usable designs makes for the most beautiful workspaces.

You're listening to Episode 37 of the Happy Space Podcast. Today, I speak with MillerKnoll’s Global Research lead, Ryan Anderson, about opportunities for organizations to create more inclusive workspaces that support sustainable performance.

Ryan Anderson, VP of Global Research and Insights at MillerKnoll, shares his research, deep passion, and appreciation for inclusive design. Ryan suggests that we must dramatically rethink our workspaces in order to better reflect our biological, mental, and emotional needs at work. Ryan talks about the current need for “spaces for everyone”, including those who identify as neurodivergent. In addition, he discusses place attachment, the human tendency to form connections with physical spaces, and the challenges and limited opportunities offered by the practice of hoteling. The discussion underscores Clare’s often made point that if you design for wellbeing performance will flow. 

Ryan Anderson serves as Vice President of Global Research and Insights at MillerKnoll, renowned workspace and furniture design company. Ryan’s team leads MillerKnoll’s research, shares insights publicly across the world, and provides workplace strategy and design services to MillerKnoll customers.

With nearly thirty years of industry experience, Ryan’s work has centered on how the places we inhabit can be better designed to support healthy, inclusive, and productive communities. Ryan hosts MillerKnoll’s “About Place” podcast on the future of the workplace and regularly speaks at public events about MillerKnoll’s historical and current research.

He is a member of the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) Executive Network, an Executive Fellow at Woxsen University in Hyderabad India, and has been featured in a wide variety of publications such as The Wall Street Journal, NPR, the BBC, Fortune, Bloomberg, and beyond.


00:00 Introduction 

05:49 The role of belonging cues in inclusive design

11:28 The business case for inclusive design

19:24 The future of workspace design and commercial real estate

22:55 Respite spaces in the workspace

26:34 The impact of diversity and culture on workspace design

28:49 Sustainable productivity

30:40 The role of leadership in promoting wellbeing and preventing burnout

35:08 Hotelling and depersonalization of office space

40:27 The importance of team-based workplace design

42:13 The need for empathy in the workplace


Herman Miller 


Harkin Institute for Public Policy

Nigel Oseland

Bill Stumpf

Work Better Save the Planet - Lisa Whited

Dr. Greg Wells


Ryan Anderson headshot - Ryan Anderson

MillerKnoll logo - MillerKnoll

Car Parked next to bike lanes - Clare Kumar

Nigel Oseland - UCL

Dr. Greg Wells - LinkedIn

Healthcare Recliner - HermanMiller

Harkin Institute of Public Policy - Harkin Institute

Bill Stumpf - MillerKnoll

Employees sitting on couches - MillerKnoll

Workspace with blue couch - MillerKnoll

MillerKnoll chairs - MillerKnoll

MillerKnoll Workspace with TV - MillerKnoll

Employees working at desks - Canva

Employees at front desk with indoor trees - Canva

Employees collaborating at table - Canva

Employee napping at work with blanket - Canva

Employee napping on couch - Canva

Employees napping on bean bags - Canva

Office space, panning out - Canva

Couple designing office - Canva

Employees working around desk - Canva

Designer with color samples - Canva

Employees working around a table with graphs - Canva

1800’s busy street - Canva

1800’s office - Canva

Learn more about Ryan Anderson:




Highly sensitive executive coach and productivity catalyst, Clare Kumar, explores the intersection of productivity and inclusivity continually asking how can we invite the richest contribution from all. She coaches individuals in sidestepping burnout and cultivating sustainable performance, and inspires leaders to design inclusive performance thereby inviting teams to reach their full potential. As a speaker, Clare mic-drops “thought balms” in keynotes and workshops, whether virtual or in-person. She invites connection through her online community committed to designing sustainable and inclusive performance, the Happy Space Pod. Why? Because everyone deserves a Happy Space.

Believing that productivity is personal, the podcast is produced in a variety of formats so you can enjoy it in the medium you prefer:

Listen to the audio right here or on your fave podcast platform.

If you prefer to  watch video, check out the episode on YouTube.

If you prefer to read, please see the transcript below.

Ready to learn more, or want to find out more about coaching with Clare or hiring her for your next engaging event? Contact Clare here.


If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a heartfelt review as this will help other listeners discover the podcast.  Please invite your colleagues, friends, and family to listen as well. Together we can design a more inclusive world where everyone can make their richest contribution.

Want to learn more about Clare and/or her guests?  Follow Clare on Instagram and Twitter

And don't forget, everyone (including YOU) deserves a Happy Space. 😊


Audio and Video Editing by: Jaclyn Enchin

Production Assistant: Luis Rodriguez

Song Credit: Cali by Wataboi from Pixabay




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