9 Principles for Active Design in the Workplace

As more and more companies embrace worker wellness, many are turning to the architectural and design communities for workspace solutions in support of a healthier workforce. Turning those sedentary office environments into spaces that can encourage healthier lifestyles is the central idea behind Active Design.

Turning Active Design concepts into actionable and functional plans is today’s latest challenge for both professionals and businesses. Below are 9 best practices built on feedback from KI interviews and surveys with workplace design professionals and employees that can help accomplish effective Active Design:

1. Implement Daylighting

Daylighting consists of removing tall barriers, bringing in natural light and reducing the need for artificial light.   By increasing natural light exposure circadian rhythms regulate, people sleep better at night, and have a better chance of achieving their fullest potential of productivity (See: Sunlight Each Day Keeps the ZzZombies Away).

2. Create a Variety of Work Spaces

As workstations shrink in size, it becomes vital to create a variety of spaces for individuals to work within other than traditional desks.  Flexible workspaces also give employees choice in where and how they work best, increasing productivity and reducing stress.

3. Encourage Face-to-Face Communications

Providing a layout that encourages face- to-face interaction over electronic communication is an obvious way to promote movement and increase team building.  Did you know?  If you can see someone, you are 40% more likely to walk over and speak with them rather than call or email.

4. Offer Healthy Food Options

There are many ways employers encourage employees to eat healthier, including providing healthy snack options in central locations, thereby encouraging workers to move. Providing access to healthy choices is likely to encourage employees to take advantage of better choices.

5. Encourage Movement at Work

When it comes to encouraging daily activity, employers are getting more creative.  Some now provide walking paths and even encourage walking meetings, which has been shown to increase creativity.

6. Design Flexible, Open Multi-Use Spaces

While meeting areas of the past included boardrooms or conference rooms outfitted with tables and chairs, communal spaces can now be designed with a variety of uses in mind.

7. Subconsciously Inspire People to Take Stairs

Well-designed and intentionally located staircases subconsciously encourage people to take the stairs instead of escalators or elevators.

8. Incorporate Height-Adjustable Worksurfaces

The use of standing height worksurfaces or height-adjustable worksurfaces can help burn 30% more calories an hour, promote blood flow, increase overall employee comfort while working, and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.

9. Allocate Outdoor Workspace

KI research suggests that outdoors is likely to be the next “new workplace.” This will require more than just furnishing a table and chairs; attention must be paid to managing glare, providing seamless connectivity to the internet, and creating an atmosphere where employees can physically go, work and feel refreshed.  To read the entire Active Design White Paper, Click Here.  To discover more and view our Active Design Prezi, click below: