Everything you need to know about ‘Healing Offices ®’

Today, offices aren’t just spaces where employees arrive at 9 am, work at their office desk and then leave for the day. This kind of mundane schedule eventually causes individuals to lose interest in their work, which negatively affects their work productivity. Hence, businesses are trying to come up with different solutions that can make offices a pleasant and productive place to work. One of the interesting ideas to design this kind of a workspace is by opting for ‘Healing Offices ®’. Read the following to learn more about this concept and understand how it could be an option for a productive workplace design.

The concept of ‘Healing Offices ®’ was introduced by the Dutch design studio D/DOCK. This concept is based on researched data and theories of environmental psychology in a bid to encourage positive behavioural changes, and enhance the mood and lifestyle of the staff. According to the design studio, this kind of office can help reduce rates of sickness and absenteeism, increase productivity and life expectancies, and lower organisational costs. This office design not only has elements that encourage exercise and a healthy diet, but also introduces factors associated with happiness such as engagement, autonomy, connectedness, and control (D/DOCK, n.d. ¹).

Putting this concept into action, D/DOCK has designed the interiors of The Edge in the Zuidas or ‘Financial Mile’ district of Amsterdam. This tower was awarded the Urban Land Institute Global Award for Excellence for its green approach. Inside The Edge, you will find a lift that takes you up to the large entrance hall: a design that allows natural light to penetrate through its glass-walled offices. As you step inside any office, it lights up and allows you to control its brightness and temperature with a mobile app. In this workplace, you would never have to worry about your mobile running out of power, as it can be charged wirelessly when placed on an office desk (Boztas, 2016 ²).

As far as the seating arrangement is concerned, the studio has opted for a hot-desking system, which means individuals do not have designated workplaces. Here, employees need to use a mobile app to find a suitable place to work based on their personal schedules. This place could be a regular desk, a standing desk, working booth or even a space in an enclosed room designed for better concentration. From large, open meeting spaces, game rooms, on-site gyms to tiny rooms with just a lounge chair and a lamp, the studio has created a host of spaces for individuals to work and relax (Scully, 2016 ³).

The office also has mesh panels installed between each of the floors to allow the stale air to filter into the central open space. As natural light positively impacts productivity, every workspace in the building is within seven metres of a window (Scully, 2016 ³).

Having this kind of an office space designed with sensors, apps and smart systems might not be possible for all businesses. Hence, there are certain simpler and less expensive tips that you can incorporate for creating your own version of a ‘Healing Office ®’. For instance, invest in a few individual desk lamps to complement your overhead office lighting. This can help ensure your employees have better control over the brightness levels at their desks.

You might also want to consider dividing your workspace into different zones that are suitable for conducting impromptu meetings, group discussions and individual work. Creating defined spaces can help make sure your employees do not spend all of their time sitting in the same place.

Make sure you provide good quality and comfortable furniture across all your workspaces. For example, instead of opting for conventional desks, buy standing desks that promote movement and minimise the risk of back and neck pain.

These are some of the ideas you can take on board from the concept of the ‘Healing Office ®’. As well as potentially making the working day better for your employees, this design can positively contribute towards a productive working space.

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