Long hours at the work desk have been blamed for contributing towards the obesity epidemic. The traditional office structure is notorious for its sedentary environment. To counteract it, architects and designers are now being inspired by ‘Active Design’—the latest architectural principle of creating spaces that encourage healthy lifestyles.
More and more companies are embracing healthy initiatives and green measures. Office furniture company Haworth rebuilt its global headquarters in Holland, Michigan, under the principles of active design. Haworth wanted to open spaces that encourage movement and interaction. Before the redesign, there was 90% individual space. The new building now has 55% individual and 45% share.
So can you get employees moving and exercising through design? According to Rick Bell, executive director of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects, “Design and obesity are interrelated.”
In the 19th and 20th century, architecture played a major role in defeating infectious diseases such as cholera and tuberculosis by designing better buildings, streets, clean-water systems and parks. So can it eradicate, the disease of the new millennium?
Employee health in workplaces is a big concern. Caring for workers also can help to reduce health care costs for employers. Corporations are now challenging interior designers to come up with design that encourages workers to move. Some of the features of active design include incorporating stairs into the actual workspace; placing equipment like printers and coffee machines in areas that encourage employees to walk and socialize with other employees and building outside work areas so employees can work electronic devices and be mobile, to name a few.