Tag Archives: Wellness

How wood can increase productivity in the workplace


Office design in wood

Have you ever walked across solid oak floors, or sat behind a mahogany desk and felt an unexpected sense of motivation and wellbeing?

You are not alone. The recent Workplaces: Wellness+Wood=Productivity report has proven that weaving wood into your office design and workplace can be a major driver of wellbeing, job satisfaction and productivity.

The full report builds on the biophilia hypothesis that was first popularised by biologist and author Edward Wilson — a notion that explains, “Humans have an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.”

And this report has shown that not only does the modern worker crave a connection to nature (like wood) in their office, it actually inspires them to become happier, more productive  employees.

More wood means happier workers

The report indicated that more than 60 per cent of indoor workers in Australia will spend the bulk of their days in an office. Of those, only half will spend more than an hour outside in nature each day.

Read more about finding a responsibly sourced wood solution for your business.

Interestingly, over a third of Australian office workers aren’t satisfied with their physical working environment. The report showed that workers who were employed in places with more wood had higher levels of satisfaction, more positive associations with their workplace, higher levels of wellbeing, higher levels of concentration as well as improved moods and personal productivity.

Greater productivity from incorporating wood into the workplace

The report demonstrated that the notion of wood improving the productivity of workers was not idealistic, but built on fact.

Biophilic design in the workplace can increase productivity by 15 per cent, with those surveyed saying more exposed wood in the office improved their ability to concentrate and lifted their feeling of wellbeing.

More timber can help combat the ‘sickie’

Did you know that wood isn’t just great for productivity, it also means workers take less leave days as well?

The report showed that almost half of employees that were very dissatisfied with their physical workplace took unplanned leave. That is compared to less than a quarter of workers who are satisfied with their surroundings.

With only 59 per cent of workers presently happy with their surroundings, employers can help eliminate the ‘sickie’ (unplanned leave for no reason other than not wanting to come to work) by adding more wood into the office environment.

Wood the big trend in modern architecture

Grand Designs Australia host and architect Peter Maddison backed the findings of the Wellness+Wood=Productivity report and said that architects were now weaving more natural elements into their designs.

Maddison got a first-hand experience of the changes that wood inspired in a recent re-design of his own home.

“I pulled up the shag pile carpets, got rid of all the plaster ceilings and replaced them with timber ceilings and beautiful oak floors,” he said.

“I removed all the plastic laminate and put in a lot more timber surfaces. It brought a sense of calm, a much more relaxed feeling.”

Maddison said there was a major timber revolution in the 1970s when it came to architecture and that the trend is returning in the modern era.

“The nuts and berries architecture in the 1970s was raw, celebrating nature in architecture,” he said.

“That trend is coming back. Not as raw as the ’70s … but we are seeing the use of timber is coming back.”

How can I incorporate wood into my workplace?

For many, ripping up carpets or replacing walls, ceilings or other structural elements is likely a bridge too far.

But there are many ways to incorporate wood into the workplace without making dramatic structural changes. For example, 45 per cent of those surveyed said they could see a wooden desk from where they sat, 39 per cent could see wooden tables and 39 per cent were in view of wood shelving or cupboards.

Other wooden objects that can be brought into the workplace include doors, chairs, window or picture frames, floorboards and blinds. Of course, if you are looking to renovate, the option for timber ceiling beams and wooden panels on the walls and floors can be attractive additions as well.

In conclusion, it’s worth bearing in mind two things: One, that the average office refurbishment cycle in Australia is about seven years – so if you’re near the end of your current cycle, now’s the time to start planning for a more productive wooden workplace. And, two, that what applies in the workplace arguably translates to the home, whether it’s where a homeworker works or homework is done – adding wood will make it a more pleasant, productive environment.

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Wellness By Design: Clodagh Harnesses the Senses to Heal

NEW YORK—Good design can support well-being. Interior designer Clodagh harnesses the five senses—sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch—to create moments of healing and tranquility in the design of hotels around the world.

“To me, wellness means that everything in design addresses the mind, body and spirit. From years of design and studying, we have a pretty good idea of what helps people to be well,” said Clodagh. “In hotels, it’s supremely important to focus on well-being as travel can be exhausting; our job is to make their destination—whether it is a pool, lounge or guestroom—a joy to be in.”

Clodagh and her creative team champion a design philosophy of life-enhancing minimalism. There is also an emphasis on building a space for guests to experience. Upon entering the East Miami in the Brickell City Centre in Miami, there are green hedges around the outer deck and the area mimics the feeling of being in the front yard of a residence. It’s a presentation that is at once striking and welcoming.

“We have seven beautiful chandeliers from a Haitian artisan outside the front door. It’s a huge, covered canopy made of wood. You have the green grounding it and incredible crystals hanging off the chandelier, which references the past and future,” said Clodagh.

Another tenet of good design is the ability to appeal to all people in different ways. For Clodagh and her design team, every step of the guest’s journey has to be special. To integrate wellness into the aesthetics, healing arts are employed.

“To do that, we have this giant toolbox of consultants and, in the more spiritual sense, we tap into the teachings of bio-geometry, Feng Shui, color chromatherapy, and scour images that date back to ancient Egyptians for inspiration,” she said. “We work with texture and smoothness. You can’t have light without shadow.”

It’s not all spiritual or introspective; there are moments of fun and whimsy in the hospitality designs Clodagh brings forth.

“We’ll use tumbled limestone for a wall, so it looks ancient. And, we like to provide people with selfie moments. It’s the best way to get the word out for the hotel, so it’s helping everybody,” she said.

When leaving a property she’s designed, Clodgah hopes guests will take with them a feeling a joy and respite.

“It’s nice to create a design that evokes our curated, very carefully minimal but comfortable ethos,” she said. “We always say it’s nice if someone says when they walk into the lobby and go ‘ahhh’ or as they enter the guestroom a deep sigh of relief comes after a long journey.”

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Mohawk Group’s New NYC Showroom Embraces Wellness

The light-filled showroom incorporates several elements of the WELL Building Standard. Photography by Garrett Rowland, courtesy of Mohawk Group.

Mohawk Group recently unveiled their brand-new showroom in NYC. Located in a former textile factory in historic Chelsea, the 13,000-square-foot space was designed by Gensler and incorporates LEED and WELL Building Standard qualifications, fully expressing Mohawk’s company ethos: Believe in better.

Open layout space, the education lab, and a meeting room in Mohawk’s Chelsea showroom. Photography by Garrett Rowland, courtesy of Mohawk Group.

“Coming from our manufacturing and textile background, this building really spoke to us,” explains Jackie Dettmar, VP of commercial design and product development. “It feels like this is home. It’s part of our history and part of Mohawk.”

The Gensler-design sales cubes are designed to be versatile and engaging. Photography by Garrett Rowland, courtesy of Mohawk Group.

Flooded with natural light, the showroom embraces an open plan with inviting work and meeting spaces, versatile product displays, a working sample library, a materials education lab, and an open area for events and training. Herbs and other flora sit in simple planters along the window, exemplifying the company’s commitment to biophilia and healthy design.

The Pantry reflects the values embodied in the new WELL Standard. Photography by Garrett Rowland, courtesy of Mohawk Group.

Interior Design editor in chief Cindy Allen took a tour of the space on Facebook. “It seems to me that these days projects have to be functional, beautiful, technical, sustainable, and now with WELL, good for the people working there,” she said. “When I’m walking through this space, I feel really good.”

Experience the full tour below:

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