1,600 people in 24 cities living 4 values for 1 goal:
To use design to help our clients succeed.

We create exceptional environments that meet our clients' most complex design challenges.

We inspire people through our work by expressing timeless cultural, organizational and personal values.

We connect people and place with ideas that come from many minds and imaginations.

We care about serving our clients, enriching lives, improving communities and protecting our natural environment through design.

We are a global architecture, design, engineering and planning firm.

60+ Years of Design + Innovation

Flexibility for Volatility: Building a High-Performance Defense Workplace


Now is the time for the defense sector to prepare the workplace for even more significant changes ahead.

These companies must adapt to continuously changing government priorities and budget allocations while balancing the inevitable procurement delays, technological advances and geopolitical uncertainties. The sector’s unpredictable nature can wreak havoc on even the most thoughtful corporate real estate and facility strategies. In the midst of this volatility, many defense companies are looking to create high-performance workplaces that drive employee attraction, retention and productivity.

What are the challenges driving the defense workplace of today (and tomorrow)? And how are these organizations responding?

knollhokflexibility-for-volatility-cover-web2HOK and Knoll partnered to study the trends driving the modern defense workplace. To identify best practices, our team surveyed corporate real estate leaders from major defense contractors and reviewed design guidelines recently developed for several large organizations. This report summarizes our findings.

Though there are no universal solutions, the report suggests that the most effective workplace environments:

  • Support agility and flexibility. 
  • Enable knowledge sharing and transfer. 
  • Satisfy privacy and security needs. 
  • Attract and retain the best people.
  • Enhance health and well-being. 
  • Improve speed to innovation.

“Government mandates, new technologies and demands from a multigenerational workforce are among the factors impacting the defense industry,” said Kay Sargent, ASID, IIDA, CID, LEED AP, MCR.w, WELL AP, director of WorkPlace at HOK. “But for savvy organizations, now is the time to prepare the workplace for even more significant changes ahead.”

“With the current emphasis on finding new efficiencies in our federal government and throughout the Department of Defense, it’s more important than ever for defense companies to create high-performance workplaces that strengthen collaboration and innovation,” added Kylie Roth, senior director, workplace research at Knoll. “We hope this report provides information that enables these organizations to stay ahead of the changing nature of their work processes and people.” 

Download a PDF (5 MB) of the HOK/Knoll research report: Flexibility for Volatility: Building a High-Performance Defense Workplace

Related: “The New Financial Workplace” research report.