The environment we work in can greatly impact both our mental and physical health. Mark Strauss, President Emeritus of Interior Design Media, and Karen Quintana, Vice President of Technical Solutions International WELL Building Institute Works talk about how your coworking spaces can help keep its members healthy.
Building a Healthy Space
The WELL Building Standard is a serious of best practices for how to design, maintain, and create a healthy space. It is organized into seven concepts: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind.
The air inside is often two to five times more polluted than outdoors. Think about incorporating a higher rate of filtration or more air changes per hour. Cleaning chemicals can also improve the indoor air quality for members.
There are a lot of contaminants in our water — some regulated some unregulated. Even the things we are trying to do to keep the water safe through water treatment can be elevated beyond what is good for us. Encouraging members to be drinking water and stay hydrated is also key to promoting health in your space. In fact, 80% of US adults go through the day in some state of dehydration which impacts mood and performance.
Obesogenic environments are places that are very sedentary and promote overconsumption. You should provide fresh fruits and vegetables, nourishment information, as well as limit the amount of processed food available in your space.
Our bodies produce hormones in response to light. We want to make sure we are providing brighter, bluer light during the day. Then, later, we should suppress that blue light and provide warmer light so our bodies can produce more melatonin for sleep. Natural lighting should also be optimized during the day but make sure to consider glare control.
Coworking itself has a bit of an edge in this department. People should be wanting to move around your space. Make things like staircases inviting through the design of your space. Design can actually play an important role in the activity within your space. Sometimes, we can bring professionals into our spaces to teach fitness classes.
Thermal comfort is one of the biggest factors. When a space is too hot or too cold it can impact your members’ ability to focus. Olfactory comfort is also important. Try to isolate and exhaust any foreign smells so that it does not distract others.
Biofilia is a human’s love of nature and our connection to it. This can be optimized through plants, water, a sense of shelter or refuge, repeating patterns, and natural patterns that can be found in nature. It gives your workplace a restorative feeling.