Collaboration space with warm wood accents and contrasting textures. large circular feature lighting completes the overall warmth of the space.

How Environmentally Sensitive Workplaces Affect Your Health & Well-being

Wellness January 30, 2020

Wellness in the workplace is far from being a new concept. Over the years, trends in corporate wellness designs have grown from the introduction of entertainment & fitness amenities to including human factors and ergonomics. Unlike most trends that come and go, workplace wellness is here to stay. With the average person spending approximately one-third of their life in an office; wellness in the workplace has taken center stage and evolved to surpass the physical accompaniments within an organization; focusing on the fulfillment of physical, emotional and social elements in everyday work life. When designing with wellness in mind; we aim to capture a holistic look at the culture and operations of an organization to increase overall mood and enhance productivity. For organizations looking to reduce absenteeism and stress while increasing productivity and happiness; wellness is a prerequisite in design and valuable business investment.

We have identified some of the most predominant trends in wellness design and their benefits:

1. Let the Light In

 

Natural light can be your best friend. It is not only a positive mood enhancer, but it also increases productivity and stimulates transparency within the workplace. Access to natural light and views of the outdoors is ranked more favorably than on-site cafeterias, fitness centers and on-site childcare as the number one attribute of the workplace.

Open workstations with ample natural light. private offices with glass office fronts increasing line of sight.
Open work stations and huddle room with ample natural light | Padilla
Small Meeting Room | Centerview Partners
Townhall | Fortress Equity Partners

2. Going Green

 

Whether you are simply adding a splash of green to enhance aesthetics or creating an outdoor oasis; there is a noticeable benefit to adopting biophilic design elements into building environments. Exposure to the natural world is essential for human wellbeing. Working in a ‘green office’ reduces stress, boosts cognition by 26%, increases productivity and reduces absence related to sickness by 30%; enhancing the overall quality of life when away from your desk.

Green Wall Sections | Criteo
Green office space incorporating biophilic design elements. Calming breakout space with checkered flooring and unique island style aesthetic.
Indoor Garden | Marshall Wace
open plan office space with touches of natural succulents throughout
Indoor Succulents | Magnitude Capital

3. Leveling the Acoustics

 

We experience a space with our 5 senses and sound can be a productivity killer if it is distracting. You may enjoy the gentle hum of chitter-chattering in the background, or you may prefer complete silence. Sound pollution affects our experience with our environment, so how much sound is too much? If you can hear someone talking while you’re reading or writing, your productivity can dip by up to 66%. While we aim to foster collaboration and communication with the idea of creating open environments; adding spaces like quiet pods, telephone rooms, and huddle rooms give employees a private space to focus on essential tasks in the day.

Fully decked out common cafe with table tennis and healthy snacks. Including variety in seating and acoustic ceiling panels.
Acoustic Ceiling Panels | Centerview Partners
Acoustic ceiling panels in reception area of Stony Brook Medicine
Reception Area with Acoustic Ceiling Panels | Stony Brook Medicine
welcoming reception leading into pantry and workstation space. Honeycomb branding with a mixture of yellow and grey neutral hues.
Honeycomb Shaped Acoustic Panels | Honeycomb Asset Management

4. Technology and Textiles

Connectivity with an environment is achieved through interaction with the elements within that space. Our senses are linked to experiences from our past and our present creating new impressions every minute of the day. You can immediately notice an office that looks good, but how do you design the office environment to ‘feel good’? We spend most of our time at our desk, with or colleagues within the same space, why not make it feel like home. Natural woods and soft textures provide comfort and warmth while Pops of color enhance mood and behavior through a complementary tactile environment.

User experience in retail banking firm JP Morgan Chase Flagship store
Interactive User Experience | JP Morgan Chase
Human pin wall in the reception area of Sisense NYC
Interactive Human Pin Wall | Sisense NYC
Collaboration space with warm wood accents and contrasting textures. large circular feature lighting completes the overall warmth of the space.
Welcoming Collaboration Space With Warm Wood Accents And Contrasting Textures | JP Morgan Chase

Creating balance and selecting complementing materials contribute to the feeling of space. As we become more aware of the products we use, the food we eat and the cars we drive; we are equally aware of the environments we live and breathe in and how habit and habitat impact our overall health.