"A quiet zone for reflection, meditation & renewal."
In response to varying lifestyles, and a multi-generational workforce, the modern workplace is undergoing a transformation. Instead of designated offices, cubicles, and 9 to 5 workdays in corporate offices, we are now working longer hours, often on call via technology 7 days a week. EcoChi is redefining the workplace as employees search for balance between work and well-being. We find that employees want to work at a company that aligns with their core values, is transparent and authentic- A company that cares about them.
We know that the spaces we spend time in affect how we feel, how we interact with others, and how we function daily. “Writer Annie Dillard famously said, ‘How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.’ For many of us, a large portion of our days is spent at work. With the average person spending nearly 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime,” the need for effective and supportive office space is crucial. Considering constant changes in society and culture, as well as personal variables (someone’s likes and dislikes), how do we determine which office set-up is best for a business? There is no one “right” answer. Solutions for workplace wellness design are unique to each property, company, and individual. Therefore, a unique design process is needed.
Wellness Workplace in an Office Park
At Mass Mutual Tri-State’s offices in Metropark, New Jersey, EcoChi was asked to create a workplace environment customized to their company culture and supportive to their dedicated employees. Many of these employees work extended hours and spend most of their time in this workspace. The building is located in an area which, historically, has been a major hub for large office buildings and office “parks”. With access to major transportation stops, the site attracts hard-working employees from all over the area, commuting to their often-long work day. In 2011, an architectural redesign of this particular building using LEED compliant parameters, began the process of bringing a higher design sense to the office park area. It was time for the interior offices of Mass Mutual Tri-State, on the 3rd and Garden Levels, to now reflect the current and future needs of their evolving and growing company.
When EcoChi was hired for this project, we asked ourselves, “How do we improve the day-to-day experience for employees, clients and guests who utilize this office?” Upon exploring the energies of the site and the design possibilities, the garden level presented unique conditions and opportunities. Employees working in this area experienced less access to light, fewer views to the surrounding outdoors, and less air ventilation/filtration. However, it offered additional square footage that could be converted to an interior common space. Although we were breaking all boundaries, the design concept was clear. The Employee Wellness Studios in the offices of Mass Mutual were born.
Three Wellness Studios for the Workplace
1.‘RENEW’ Studio- The ‘Renew’ Studio is an active area meant for 10-15 min activities, with individual exercise mats and TV screens for optional interactive experience. The room includes the S.A.L.T. Décor Wall Panel System by SALT Chamber. Himalayan salt benefits include:
Emits natural occurring negative ions that are proven to reduce stress & fatigue while supporting a better sense of well-being.
Gently rejuvenate and invigorates skin
Healing effects for breathing difficulty
2.‘MEDITATE’ Studio- The ‘Meditate’ Studio offers more privacy and personal space for employees to spend a few moments to themselves. Swing seating is purposefully selected to incorporate a playful component and a repetitious movement for mediation. Play is vital for children AND adults! Studies show that incorporating play and activity into your everyday life can result in optimal productivity and creativity.
3.‘REFLECT’ Studio- The ‘Reflect’ Studio incorporates sacred geometry patterns, moving views of nature at a large scale, and the ability to reflect quietly either individually or with a small group. This ‘theater’ like set-up can be used for corporate-sponsored wellness sessions with trained professionals or personal time to experience something new throughout your work day.
Activities that benefit your health and wellness don’t only have to be reserved for spa, fitness or treatment rooms. They do, however, require a different design concept depending on where the activities are taking place. By creating break-out studios on an office site, we can begin to integrate these types of activities and positive thinking into our everyday lives. Our goal is to make these practices possible more frequently with shorter duration. For this to happen in the workplace, we need a unique design built for this kind of environment and with the right degree of privacy and turnover time. Disappearing during the work day for long periods of time for treatments and taking your time the way that you would at a spa would not be effective. Therefore, the smaller studios are designed to encourage shorter 10-15-minute breaks for employees that often have a very long work day.
Finding work-life balance starts with our built-environments. If your surroundings support your business and personal goals with purposeful design, it will have a profound positive influence on your mood, vitality, focus and your physical and mental well-being.
Caring for your people is a win-win for your company, culture and the employees who make it all happen.