Benefits of a healthy, happy workspace :
Increasingly in the modern workplace, more emphasis has been placed on the health and wellbeing of employees. It’s even more important for startups and entrepreneurs, who typically spend more than the average eight hours a day in a workspace .
Jacqui Esdaile, Creative Director of Valmont and the designer of the Gravity Coworking space, had a budget to work to that didn’t extend to massage tables, aromatherapy rooms or sleep pods – perhaps the next space we design! So the challenge was to create a workspace that exudes professionalism but also has attributes that promote health and wellbeing for all Gravity members.
She shares the top 5 design elements that she integrated into the space to make the whole environment more desirable to work in:
1) The task chairs
‘The latest from the Herman Miller family is the Sayl Chair, which was a must for this coworking space when we began specifying the furniture’ notes Jacqui. ‘The chair is unusual looking and eye catching, but more importantly the frameless back encourages a full range of movement while the suspension material on the back ensures there is air movement around your body. So you’ll not only be super comfortable while you work in this ergonomically faultless piece, you’ll also stay cool when under pressure from that new client!’
2) Greening key spaces
‘It was so important for us to include a good amount of greenery within the office workspace , as plants have so many wonderful benefits for those who work around them. Firstly, plants improve the physiology of a workplace by improving air quality. The science of placing them in the entry area and the breakout space at Gravity, came down to first impressions for the members. We wanted them to walk into the space and instantly feel better – even if it is subconsciously.’ It has been proven that plants within an office can reduce stress and tension, and Jacqui mentions ‘We all need as many stress relievers as we can get when we’re at work! Sometimes Tim Tams just aren’t going to cut it. Do you know plants have also been linked to increases in creativity and opening up possibilities in brainstorming sessions?’ Count us in for that!
3) Fresh kitchen
A clean, bright and well lit kitchen space automatically sends signals of cleanliness, health and efficiency. Jacqui notes that the kitchen was designed with specific materials in mind, to enhance the aesthetic of the workspace and for ease of cleaning. ‘The kitchen can tend to be the messiest and dirtiest part of an office space. Whilst we encourage members to respect one another and keep the space clean, I chose materials that had great wear and tear properties as well as easy clean attributes. Solid timber for the bench tops will wear beautifully with age, and will always look warm and modern. Tiles for the splash back are quick to wipe, and polished concrete flooring is easy to maintain and mop. We kept the space generous in size, so it will never feel cramped with multiple people using the space, nor will nasty smells build up. This kitchen has one of the best outlooks we’ve seen – with its own balcony and park views, I think I’ll be dropping in for coffee pretty regularly!’ says Jacqui.
4) Natural light
The space at Carrington St is light and bright with views of Wynyard Park and The Ivy on George St, but Valmont ensured that even though walls were to be built, no seating position was without access to natural light. Jacqui states ‘It is so important to work in natural light everyday, as there are studies to prove exposure to the right amount of daylight improves productivity, concentration levels and even how well you sleep at night!’ Grumpy coworkers do not a happy workplace make. So let there be light for all!
5) Move it
Yes that’s right. Moving your body as much as you can has enormous benefits for longterm health. The circulation and flow of Gravity is designed to encourage movement in two ways. Jacqui notes ‘Firstly, the meeting zones and breakout zones are all centrally located in the workspace , meaning that members will be encouraged to get out of their seat and walk to have a meeting, grab a coffee, read the paper. Secondly, the variety of ways in which you can work, encourages members to move through the space depending on the task they are completing. Move from your desk to a quiet booth to make a phone call. Move to the other end of the office to the brainstorming zones, and then cruise to the breakout area to take a load off’. Diversifying posture throughout the day also offsets some of the damage of sitting. And of course we want you to chat to your fellow coworkers so we’ll always encourage you to go and introduce yourself and take a 5 minute break!