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Series articles allow design
practitioners to earn
continuing education unit
credits through the pages
of the magazine. Use the
following learning objectives
to focus your study while
hen monks were hunched over desks in drafty cloisters illuminating
reading this issue’s article.
biblical manuscripts in the Middle Ages, nobody cared very much
To receive one hour of
about the impact of the workplace on their health and well-being.
But today we know better. And in the words of Dr. Maya Angelou, “When you
credit (0.1 CEU) as
know better, you do better.” Our challenge is to move from creating spaces that
approved by IDCEC, read
in the workplace.
simply minimize hazards to designing spaces that actually help users thrive.
the article and go to
ceus and follow the
The workplace has a tremendous influence on our personal well-being. That’s
why experts are rethinking everything about it—how it encourages or inhibits
movement, how it helps or hinders collaboration, how it celebrates or suppresses
After reading this article, you
our humanity, and even how the materials we use to build it, decorate it, and
should be able to:
furnish it impact our health.
◗ Understand the connections
One reason we are thinking so differently about the workplace is that we
between the built office
spend so much time there. According to a recent study by the Bureau of Labor
environment and occupant
Statistics, average Americans spend approximately one-third of our days working.
For many of us, the 40-hour workweek is a fond memory. A September 2014
Gallup study showed that the average time worked by full-time employees is
◗ Discuss the importance
nearly 46.7 hours a week (nearly another entire 8-hour day per week!). Another
of movement in the
50% say they work even more than that. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that the
workplace to support
time we spend at work impacts us in a whole host of physical, emotional, and
psychological ways, which in turn impact the work we do, and the organizations
we work for. Given our increasingly knowledge-based economy, it benefits
◗ Comprehend the impact
of space design on human
companies to understand the connections between work and workplace.
behavior, and how to
Disengagement: Less emotionally connected and not
outcomes, such as
willing to do any more than is necessary to keep one’s job.
movement, through design.
In the summer of 2013, for example, a Gallup study showed disturbingly high
levels of employee disengagement among American workers across industry and
◗ Utilize various frameworks
market sectors. One in five was reported to be “actively disengaged.” Additionally,
for grasping and measuring
fewer than one in three American workers (30%) are committed to the success of
their organization. The results of this disengagement include the obvious loss of
impacts, such as the
productivity and the not-so-obvious physical and mental toll on those who feel so
Health Product Declaration
and the Well Being
disconnected on a daily basis.
The Integrated Benefits Institute, a nonprofit research organization which represents
major U.S. employers and business coalitions, estimates that poor health costs the
U.S. economy more than a half-trillion dollars per year. By poor health, we mean
not only the physical health challenges that result in absenteeism, or not coming
into work due to illness, but also the mental health challenges of presenteeism,
which includes reporting to work but not performing very well. Both of these can
seriously impact an organization’s success and bottom line. Clearly, there is a
need to rethink how and where we work and the impact it has on our lives.
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