wellbeing

How Healthcare will Change the Future of Corporate Office Design

image source: Kimball brand NeoCon 2019

image source: Kimball brand NeoCon 2019

The world around us is quickly changing – people, technology, and medicine. The future of healthcare will focus more on maintaining overall well-being rather than masking illnesses. So how will this affect the corporate work environment? We can expect companies to begin integrating these health technologies in the future of office design.

 

Wearable devices

Advancing technologies will play a major role in the future of consumers health such as artificial intelligence and inter-operable data. Wearable devices like Fit Bits and Apple watches already have the capacity to track and monitor our steps, sleeping patterns, and heart rates. We can expect in the next 20 years to watch this trend grow according to Deloitte. Many medtech companies are already beginning to incorporate always-on biosensors and software into devices that can generate, gather, and share data (Deloitte). This will provide consumers with customized health plans and give them complete control over their well-being.

 

image source: Kimball brand NeoCon Chicago 2019

image source: Kimball brand NeoCon Chicago 2019

Supporting spaces

Today’s work culture is all about employee well-being and it goes beyond fancy amenities like a pool table or kegerator. It is important to promote movement and creative flow within the office. This includes creating both physical and mental supporting spaces. The wearable devices can provide active information to manage user’s health and wellness (WorkDesign Mag).

Physical supporting spaces can include sit-to-stand desks or defined walkways for “walk and talk” meetings. There is a serious lack of physical activity within an office environment which can lead to several health issues. It is important for workplace designers to find design solutions that promote health and wellness for employees.

It is also vital to create mental supporting spaces that goes beyond collaboration. Although the Open Plan concept promotes more collaboration between employees, it can be a distraction. Mental supportive spaces can include “quiet zones” which are separate rooms/areas filled with comfortable furniture and calming aesthetics to unwind and regroup.

 

image source: Kimball brand NeoCon 2018

image source: Kimball brand NeoCon 2018

The future of Office Design

We can expect to see a lot more changes in the office environment. As employee health and wellness becomes the center of a company’s focus, workplace designers will begin to incorporate technology into

into every aspect of the office from our chairs, monitors, and even computer mouse which will monitor vitals and let employees know when they should take a break or walk around (WorkDesign Mag). Office design will also begin to focus more on stress-management and promote more physical activity within the workplace.



https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/industry/health-care/forces-of-change-health-care.html

https://workdesign.com/2019/07/healthcare-advancements-that-will-redefine-office-design-in-2020-and-beyond/



The healthy office; Investing more into your people

Photo: b + c portfolio 'Living Wall Installation' at Chosen Foods 

Photo: b + c portfolio 'Living Wall Installation' at Chosen Foods 

Small cubicles, silent offices, and sad fluorescent lighting...sound like a place you want to be? I didn't think so. It's no doubt that having a healthy work culture is key in the workplace today. Employees are the most valuable asset to a company. If your employees aren't happy, how do you expect them to produce successful work for you? Employee well-being has become a major priority for workplace design. It goes beyond the modern work space and finest amenities. These include: biophilic design, wellness programs, healthful eating options, and more physical activity through out the day. 

 

Biophilic Design

The word Biophilia means 'love of nature'. It describes the deep-seated connection humans feel towards nature itself. As  our world has continued to become more densely populated and more people are living in urban areas, we have decreased the use of our natural world. It is vital that we reconnect with the environment.

Given that we have this natural connection to nature, it is important for our overall well-being to incorporate it more into the place that we spend most of our time...work. According to The World Health Organization, stress related illnesses like mental health disorders and cardiovascular disease will be the two largest contributors to disease by 2020. Biophilic design has been known to improve memory, mood, attention span, stress, inflammation, and immunity. Businesses that incorporate biophilic design have seen a 13% higher level of well-being and an 8% increase in productivity.

Wellness programs 

Wellness programs include a number of activities and benefits that encourage health and well-being in the workplace. Some companies may have an on-site gym where employees can exercise at after the work day. Smaller companies may encourage employees to form fitness groups or reward the most active employees by using wearable tracking. Social activities can also be apart of a wellness program, as mental health is just as important as physical health. 

Healthy eating options 

This one can be a bit tricky since not everyone has the same tastes in food. However, giving people options to choose is the important part. Providing healthy food choices at work can be appreciated by some, but it is important not to eliminate other options. Some companies provide a healthy meal at meetings, parties, and events. Other companies provide weekly lunches free of charge. Another option would be to replace some of the snacks in the vending machines with healthier options. You can't force your employees to eat healthy. The choice is ultimately up to them, but it can definitely be encouraged. 

More physical activity through out the day

The last tip is promoting more physical activity throughout the day. This can technically fall under the wellness program. Again, you can't force people to get up out of their chairs and run around the office but you can give them the option so that it is available to them. These can include standing meetings, sit-to-stand desks, lunchtime walks, cycle to work days where employees can ride their bikes to work, or even a five minute stretching session next to an employees desk can help unwind. 

 

A healthy office is a happy office; emotionally and physically. It is important to take care of your employees. There are many cost-effective way to improve the overall well-being of your work culture. Developing and promoting healthy options will increase productivity and morale around the office. 

 

 

Sources: 

http://www.oliverheath.com/biophilic-design-connecting-nature-improve-health-well/

https://k2space.co.uk/knowledge/biophilic-office-design/

https://www.google.com/search?q=work+wellness+programs&rlz=1C1NHXL_enUS775US775&oq=work+wellness+programs&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.3356j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8