Parallel Design Group Parallel Design Group

Thought Leadership

Workplace Design: Your Why + What's Next?

In a recent interview with Marcus Hall of California Closets and Designing Better Lives Podcast, our Principal and Founder, Briana Dunkin shares a few key practices of what makes PDG different. Marcus and Briana also explore how Briana got started in the business of interiors, as they discuss the future of the workplace design.

Parallel Design Group joins Marcus and other thought leaders as we join together to continue to listen and learn as we navigate such uncharted territories in 2020. Stay with us for a few minutes as we explore how powerful ‘WHY’ can be in your business and in your life.


Growing up in a small town, Briana didn’t know of Interior Design as a profession, but her Home Ec teacher did. This teacher recognized something in Briana and steered her towards this field. With a firm foundation achieved at Indiana University – this accredited program allowed Briana to do more than pick lampshades and paint colors – but really opened her eyes to helping people, solving problems, and making all things beautiful via workplace design.

Early on – and to this date, although much has changed in the industry; one thing has stayed the same within Briana; her curiosity and her constant questioning of Why.


As a young woman digging into design and exploring a career in Interior Design in Indy– Briana’s first notable (and pivotal) why was “Why can’t family and career be equal priorities?” Once Briana and her husband Mike were growing a family, Briana had an even deeper tug to live into an integrated family and work environment; focusing on family first, but didn’t feel like there was a system already created where they could tend to both.

After staying at home with her girls for what was supposed to be 4 years, but actually ended up being 6 months, a great opportunity led her to eventually start something of her own. And so, Briana Dunkin Interiors, later turned to Parallel Design Group, was born.

With Briana building this from the ground up, she now had the liberty to create an environment that was family first, without sacrificing a great work culture. Years on down the line, the why that initially drove her to PDG is a mentality and foundation within the company that has not only blessed Briana; but staff members of PDG (and their families).

For Briana, allowing people to not have to choose between a career and their family is truly living out her own dream; and providing it to others. This model has proven to be successful for PDG, as it attracts dedicated, faithful employees with low turn over.


Outside of our core company values we stand upon, Parallel Design Group is intentional about coming to the table with a challenging mindset – as we encourage to ask our clients ‘Why’ when conversing about their workplace design and culture.

Oftentimes we have a small group of representatives at the initial meetings, but we want full company engagement and participation.

That is why Parallel Design Group surveys the needs of the company as a whole via a survey so that we hear everyone’s voice; not just those sitting in our design meetings. We take the findings of this survey and use it as a road map to help our clients make the best decisions and execute accordingly.


How does the ‘Why’ tangibly impact our clients?

After completing the survey and challenging our clients, they are left with the confidence that we are not just agreeing with them; but leading them in our area of expertise and challenging the norm. The end result is that we assist in curating an experience for the client’s employees that is different from the rest by truly and fully understanding their needs and culture.

And what does that produce? Happier clients with happier staff – that attracts more business.


With many opinions in the air – and even many more unknowns, its important to note that we (PDG) do not claim to predict the future; but simply listen well.

Based on the influencers in our industry and the information that has been released, we do not anticipate the workplace to take a dramatic turn. Workplaces will certainly still exist; they will just look a little different.

Greater responsibility will lie on the landlords to provide better fresh air intake, better HVAC, and better cleaning protocols. Additionally, within the workplace, companies are going to have to take on some sort of implementation to make their own employees feel safe in the workplace.

We are hopeful that companies do not make decisions that will not truly provide change. For example; additional panels and boxing people into spaces. At the end of the day, that perceived protection is just creating another surface to be cleaned.

Each company will handle differently. But it is on us individually - each one of us to change our behavior to be more sanitary and respectful.


Briana leaves us with a challenge to the community; be a pathmaker and ask why. Ask yourself why you really do what you do. Is it simply because others are doing it? We tend to do what is easy and that causes us to be stagnant in our thoughts. Push yourself to go against the grain. Ask why to the simplest of things.

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