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An evidenced-based approach to elevate the workplace experience

A new NBBJ report presents design concepts for providing people with opportunities to recharge and engage in the workplace.

September 01, 2020 |
NBBJ’s nbbX blog

Editor’s Note: This post was co-authored by Edwin Beltran, Andy Snyder, and Suzanne Carlson.

 

Workplace stress has a significant impact on health and productivity in normal times — but it has become a larger challenge in the current climate as people grapple with high unemployment, social distancing and general uncertainty. 

As organizations evolve new models for remote and in-office work, the wellbeing and engagement of their employees remains critical to their sustained success. This moment presents a unique opportunity to reimagine a better workplace — not just safer, but also less stressful and more productive, supporting a more purposeful rhythm of the day.

Neuroscience research provides crucial insights into stress, engagement and productivity. Humans are social creatures that find safety in relationships and nature, and are impacted by their environments in ways both large and small. This has important implications for how to design workplaces in an era of stress and uncertainty, suggesting new approaches that better respond to fundamental human needs.

Grounded in neuroscience research from Dr. John Medina as part of the NBBJ Fellowship Program, this post explores ideas on how to elevate workplace experience. Three of these concepts —Paths, Hubs and Nooks— provide people with opportunities to recharge and engage, promoting a new, more uplifting workday experience.

 

Paths

Paths serve as spaces to escape from daily routines, providing opportunities to exercise, find respite and refuge or connect with nature. They can be created out of utilitarian indoor spaces like stairs or hallways, and incorporate several elements shown to reduce stress and improve productivity. Paths can also be created in outdoor settings, creating intentional journeys through curated landscapes with points of interest that encourage people to pause and slow down.

 

Nooks

Nooks are calming oases distributed throughout the workplace, particularly in underutilized spaces, that incorporate circadian lighting, natural sounds and moments of delight. Nooks promote mental and physical restoration through mindful slowdowns and positive distractions, which have been shown to reduce stress. They can be programmed to provide immersive experiences, or a supportive environment for a restorative nap, conversation or meditation.

 

Hubs

Hubs are larger-scale restorative amenities that promote social connection, connection to nature or restorative breaks. Intended for groups of people, hubs can be created within repurposed indoor spaces or outdoors, and can be programmed with engaging activities like exercise or meditation. Hubs can range from immersive audiovisual experiences, to lounges and chill-out rooms, to indoor gardens that could double as meeting and conference spaces.

These ideas are part of a comprehensive report by the NBBJ Fellowship Program which outlines how to create new work rhythms, ways to mitigate stress for frontline healthcare workers and how to remain human in a hybrid virtual-physical world.  

To learn more about these concepts and the supporting research, please email socialmedia@nbbj.com to receive a downloadable PDF of the full report.

NBBJ’s nbbX blog
nbbX blog

NBBJ creates innovative places and experiences for organizations worldwide, and designs environments, communities and buildings that enhance people’s lives. Founded in 1943, NBBJ is an industry leader in healthcare and corporate facilities and has a strong presence in the commercial, civic, science, education and sports markets. The firm has won numerous awards and has been recognized as one of the world’s “Top Ten Most Innovative Architecture Firms” by Fast Company magazine.

NBBJ has 700 employees in eleven offices worldwide, including Beijing, Boston, Columbus, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Pune, San Francisco, Seattle and Shanghai. Clients include Alibaba, Amazon, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Boeing, Cambridge University, Cleveland Clinic, GlaxoSmithKline, Google, Massachusetts General Hospital, Microsoft, Reebok, Salk Institute, Samsung, Stanford University, Starbucks, Telenor, Tencent and the Wellcome Trust.

nbbX is the ideas platform of NBBJ. It is our blog in which we write about what “means the world to us.” With a focus on work, cities and health — that is, through the three channels of Work, Community and Well-being — we investigate the notion of “a good life” and how to enable it through design and architecture. http://meanstheworld.co/

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