Pictured Above: BBC’s custom helical office staircase at their worldwide headquarters in London (Photo: Glassdoor)

With a push for active living, encouraging the use of an office staircase is gaining popularity. But the benefits of spaces that create more usable staircases has a number of other benefits as well.

In addition to becoming design marvels and focal points of a space, stairs do more than merely connect floors. They connect the people on them. Collaboration and connectivity are essential for many businesses today and a good staircase can help foster these work traits.

Staircases are coming out of enclosed fire escapes and into central locations in a workplace. More on some excellent designs and the benefits they provide below:

Health Benefits

Nixon Peabody Washington DC Office Staircase

Nixon Peabody’s Washington D.C. Office (Photographer: Eric Laignel)

The workplace plays a huge role enabling employee health and wellbeing. It’s where people spend a majority of their waking hours. Initiatives around office wellness are gaining steam from the international level with WELL to national standards like the CDC’s fitwel. Even at the local level, initiatives like New York City’s Active Design Guidelines focus on staircases as a important way to enable activity.

Open staircases provide dual benefits. First, they increase natural light, a feature all offices need to mindful of. Secondly, bringing a staircase to a forefront and making it more easily accessible provides increased incentive for employees to use it when walking between floors or to different meeting areas.

The average worker is mobile and in meetings throughout the day. Moving around and up and down staircases between floors can be enough to get blood flowing again after desk work and provide greater alertness.

Nixon Peabody found a way to combine both wellness and sustainability in their new space and connecting staircase.

Their open multi-floor staircase, which integrated a green wall became a focal point of the space. It also served to keep employees active and provide added natural light. Employees feel good while the firm has created new ways for them to connect.


In addition to wellness, open staircase designs also promote connection and collaboration within an office. Often working on a specific floor really feels like working in a different building, because you’re shut off from coworkers on other levels. Open staircases and strategic layouts can fix this though. By putting different amenities on different floors, employees have more opportunities to connect with coworkers through casual collisions.

For example Deloitte’s new Toronto Office features a Starbucks on one of their floors. With open staircases, they certainly see a fair amount of traffic as people move up and down to the cafe.

Deloitte Toronto Office Staircase

Deloitte Toronto’s floating central staircase (Photo: OfficeLovin, Photographer: James Brittain)

Another example is the central connecting staircase at Whirlpool’s North American Headquarters. IA notes that the large connected staircase helped create a more collaborate environment and workflow.

“Part of this strategy was realized by laterally shifting core halves to reduce the footprint of main circulation paths and create lounges of varying sizes adjacent to the stairs. These collaboration zones are identified by custom lighting fixtures constructed from stainless steel dryer drums.”

Whirlpool NA Office Staircase

Whirlpool’s North American Headquarters in Benton Harbor, Michigan (Photo: Interior Architects)

Finally, if you want to see an example of using staircases for connecting employees, look no further than LinkedIn’s Chicago office. The staircase embodies connection and collaboration by featuring photos of LinkedIn employees along the wall. Furthermore, it features a bleacher area outfitted with cushions for employees to sit down for impromptu conversations or meetings.

Linkedin Chicago Office Staircase

LinkedIn’s Chicago Office (Photo: SEGD)