April 24, 2021


As businesses begin to look at opening up again post COVID-19, the big question on employers’ and employees’ minds is how employers can help make their employees and clients feel safe coming back to work? To help navigate what the new business universe will look like and answer these questions, the Kolar Experience Institute™ (KEI), a business extension of Kolar Design, developed the COVID-19 COMPASS survey as a part of a broader platform to guide the return to the workplace. Providing tools, training, technology and trend analysis on what people are thinking, feeling and saying of their COVID-19 experience, KEI’s COVID-19 COMPASS survey analyzes perceived employer readiness and employee sentiment regarding returning to work. To pay it forward, KEI is offering this survey for free with immediate results on several key questions revolving around perceived wellness, safety and workplace attitudes during this crisis.


The COVID-19 COMPASS platform is KEI’s first launch as the natural extension of Kolar Design into new geographies and technologies aimed at creating a safer and healthier workplace of the future. KEI’s vision of understanding the genius loci, or spirit of place, connects the dots between people, process and place and the behaviors that drive the human experience and businesses forward. Developed by Kolar’s thought leadership of researchers, design thinkers, architects, designers, business leaders and affiliates at MYCA Learning and Olivetree Insights, the COVID-19 COMPASS utilizes Kolar’s insights and prolonged studies revolving around the human experience within the workplace.

““We were looking for a way to use our talents and contribute during this crisis. Our vision at Kolar Design is to be the most globally trusted partner in adding soul to space, and this initiative is an opportunity to amplify what we do while providing tools, training, technology and trends to everyone. It’s all about building a better, safer Cincinnati. That’s why we’re doing this, to leverage our strengths and pay it forward.” ”

— Kelly Kolar, Founder and President of Kolar Design

With clients at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Procter & Gamble, UC Health, Enerfab and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Kolar has 10+ years of insights in branding space for health, safety and wellness in healthcare, manufacturing and corporate sectors alike. Accumulation of these unique insights shows how important feeling safe is for how people experience their workplace. These insights are especially valuable at a time where people are experiencing a lot of uncertainty and loss in their personal and professional lives. Employers need an empathy-based approach in understanding how their employees feel about going back to work, and how they can better respond to their employee’s anxiety, and that’s what KEI provides. Workplace design will be different following the pandemic, and KEI’s COVID-19 COMPASS gives workplaces the insights, research, tools, training, technology and trends that can help them start on the right foot.


The Kolar Experience Institute is a research and insight institute focused on exploring the intersection of people, process and place in pursuit of finding solutions that create a positive impact for its’ clients and communities. It provides businesses with the tools, technology and training needed to shape the future of workplace strategy and drive better business results. The institute is an expansion of Kolar Design that accesses the thought leadership of researchers, design thinkers, architects, designers and business leaders with the singular focus of developing a deeper understanding of the connections between human experiences and business.


Founded in 1990, Kolar Design, Inc. is an award-winning brand experience company. Using a collaborative process, Kolar specializes in building branded space with lasting impact at the intersection of people and place. Its’ branded spaces deliver best-in-class employee engagement, satisfaction, retention and improvement in customer experiences. Over 30 years, Kolar’s created healing environments focused on patients and family experience, blended corporate and cultural identity in global workplaces, brought new life to urban settings in mixed-use developments, transformed city parks into the hearts of communities and redefined academic settings within ever-changing populations and new technologies.