How to Promote Happy, Healthy Work Environments

How to Promote Happy, Healthy Work Environments

By: Donna Metallic

As Interior designers, we can influence the well-being of occupants and drive productivity of the occupants in the workplace by introducing the WELL Building  philosophy in which the built environments minimize the impact to the human occupant.

The office workplace is morphing to adapt to new styles of leadership, to reflect the culture and brand of a company and to the awakening of the importance of human capital. Technology has also pushed us in this workplace evolution and is likely to catapult us to the next level of flexibility in the workplace!  While technology will drive this, place and people will define the experience.  A few examples of how to make a happy, healthier environment:


  • Creating spaces that bring natural light in for all employees to share.
  • Creating spaces that are flexible and give the employee various work environments from focus to collaboration that engage the employee with different levels of sensory engagement.

The challenge is to create healthy environments flexible enough to allow teams to come together when they need to and unbundle when they’re done.  When you have an open office area with a mobility ratio of 1.4/ 1.5 people per desk; how do you keep those areas healthy?

  • Create spaces that use materials that eliminate substances that could potentially have negative health effects.
    • So the air you breathe is without formaldehyde.
    • Surfaces that are antimicrobial
  • Create spaces that reinforce healthy activities:
    • Wellness centers, Café’s that display food/ ingredients /calories and Views to the outdoors.
    • Proximity of functional groups to create casual cross functional interactions.
  • Create empowerment of the end user with technology tools:
    • Training tools to spread knowledge to all employees
    • Training for technology, ergonomics and common well-being.
  • Create a lighting & shading story that reflects the natural daylight cycle; circadian lighting systems by Lutron.
    • Daylight can have a profound impact on employee’s comfort and productivity.
      • Our biological clock is regulated by daylight. The eye responds to a blue wavelength found in daylight that office lighting cannot reproduce.  Without sufficient access to this wavelength, the body has difficulty maintaining its natural cycle —impacting alertness and health.

To create a happy environment make sure that the technology connection is simple!

IDO’s Vision:  To advance the quality of mission critical interior environments for a healthier, happy and more productive world.   If we can assist you with improving your next interior project, please give us a call.

The first WELL TD Bank Group’s Toronto office was certified WELL Gold, marking the first WELL Certified™ Project under WELL v1Certified. Created by HOK.

The cover photo is from the new ASID Headquarters in Washington, DC created by Perkins & Will.

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