Wellness by Design

Goran Bogicevic/Shutterstock

Look around your current work or study station. What do you see? Are there closed spaces? Is your ‘stuff’ jammed around your desk? Is other people’s stuff encroaching on your territory? Can’t figure out where your colleague is within the office cubicle maze? Feeling claustrophobic yet?

Many of us go through our daily lives feeling trapped in this type of office culture. In order to be ‘efficient’ we have office boxes instead of open spaces. Our ‘things,’ which are kept within hand’s reach, encroach upon our limited space instead of being accessible when we really need them. Instead of encouraging movement, this type of work space ties us down from the minute we enter in the morning until it is time to leave at the end of the day. While we may work with people, our work space is often isolated and isolating.

Clearly, office design can make or break how we feel about our work – both in place and in space. An alternative to the traditional model is taking shape to promote employee health through innovative and open office design.

An architecture firm in Australia has begun implementing office spaces built on the premise of ‘passive’ design which encourages employee movement and social interaction.

Click here to read about wellness based office design.

As noted in the article, passive design increases the ability of employees to move around the office environment. It seems to promote connections through open spaces, common places and the development of community.

This ‘new’ approach to office design seems to be based on some age-old fundamental principles. When we feel like we belong, we feel better about what we do. When we feel better about what we do, we do better.

So clear out your work space and lower those barriers. It feels better.

Discussion Questions:

  1. In your current work space, what design elements are in place that promote a wellness approach for your work day?
  2. What changes would you make to your work environment in order to increase your physical activity?
  3. What do you think about the concepts of ‘passive’ design? Would these be easy or difficult to implement in a Canadian office environment?