Designing an Office to Encourage Movement
Over the past few years, health in the workplace has been a major topic for discussion. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, there was a lot of discussion around different ways to promote wellness in the workplace, specifically about how to offset the negative effects of spending too much time doing sedentary work.
A few years ago, there were many headlines declaring that sitting is the new smoking, which led to things like adjustable height workstations growing in popularity. Many people traded in their traditional desk chairs for things like balance balls and other seating designed to engage muscles and encourage movement while people work. In some cases, people even switched to workstations with built-in treadmills. While all of these ideas can help people get some extra movement in while they work, they’re not practical for everyone and there is another approach worth considering: designing a workplace to naturally encourage people to get up and move around. Here are a few design ideas to help motivate people to get on their feet during the workday.
When people are looking for ways to increase their activity during the day, one of the most common ways they’ll do this is by taking the stairs. But taking the stairs can start to feel like a real chore, especially if the stairway isn’t in the most stylish of areas. Adding artwork to a stairway, such as a mural on the walls or some paintings or photography, is a great way to give people an incentive to opt for the stairs instead of the elevator. If you have a lot of artwork that could be displayed, rotating pieces out over time could inspire people to keep taking the stairs since there will consistently be new things to look for.
If you’re in a position of being able to choose where your stairways are located, making them a prominent design feature in your workplace can be another great way to encourage people to get up and move.
Think About Your Layout
When people are really focused on their work, it can be extremely easy for them to lose track of how much time they’ve been sitting still for. Especially if everything they need is within easy reach of their workstation. If people often need to use things like copy machines, printers, and other common resources, placing them away from workstations can be a great way to remind people to get up and move occasionally, even when they’re really zoned in on their work. Another idea is to strategically place things like coffee and snack stations so that people need to walk a bit from their workstations if they need to refill their coffee or get something to eat.
A Variety of Spaces
We often talk about creating a variety of spaces around the office to support different styles of work, such as group collaboration, focused solo work, and one-on-one discussions. Not only does this give people the ability to work in the environment that best meets their needs, it gives people a good reason to take a break from their desks, move around, and better use the space as a whole.
Designing a workplace to encourage movement doesn’t necessarily mean limiting yourself to movement indoors. For example, if people are making a serious effort to be more active, they may be interested in riding their bikes to work instead of driving. But a downside to this means that bikes typically need to be stored outside where they’ll be exposed to the elements and be at risk for being stolen. Providing some indoor bike storage can give people the assurance of knowing that their bike will be protected while they work and make it easier for them to be more active in general.
Ready to take the next step toward a new office? We’d love to work with you! We have experience working on a wide variety of commercial properties. Check out our portfolio to see just a few examples of our work, then contact us so that we can learn more about your project.