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Workplace Trends Are Changing, Part 2: Mobility And Wellness Are Key

Though convenience and flexibility are still king in office design, an emphasis on health and wellness now reigns as a focal point for employee well-being. 


The design shift in favor of health and wellness has led owners to incorporate fewer support spaces for print rooms and supply closets in order to encourage employee mobility. Technology options on laptops allow employees to print from anywhere in the office.

Printers themselves are now down to one for every 73 people, and the number of pantries has declined to one for every 112 people. They are being replaced by more central cafés that are meant to encourage more frequent interaction and engagement between employees.

Wellness rooms are also growing in popularity and have expanded from one room per 251 people in 2016, to one room per 198 people in 2017. The employee experience is important, including space for focus work, even in an open office layout. 

Ted Moudis Associates Director of Workplace Strategy Jamie Feuerborn said both physical and mental wellness has become a top priority for all of his clients. Feuerborn said he is seeing an increase in standing desks, fitness spaces and meditation rooms as a result.

 Keeping Employees Healthy One Step At A Time


Unassigned seating and activity-based models are replacing hoteling or reservation-based models, allowing people to be more mobile within the office.

The activity-based design allows people to move throughout the day and could have one employee starting her day by brainstorming in a huddle room before traveling to an open workstation, then off to a media hub in the late afternoon and finally finishing off the day with some focus in a quiet room.

The model seeks to provide new amenities and a broader spectrum of workspace types while reducing the total area per occupant.

The increased mobility also allows employees to be more collaborative, improves well-being, raises morale, increases speed of information adoption and improves flexibility.

“Clients are really wanting to create focus on recruitment and retention of staff. They want to be that best place to work [and are] recognizing that especially those under 30 change jobs frequently now. If people are more likely to switch every two years, how do you keep people engaged? The workplace plays such a significant role in that,” Feuerborn said.

This is one reason fitness centers, gyms and spas are beginning to become commonplace in the office as landlords become more competitive.

Midtown Center, an office in Downtown D.C., will include an 8K SF fitness center complete with cardio workout area, weight machines, free weights, a bike room and two fitness classrooms. Unispace is designing a corporate office space in Perth, Australia, for an undisclosed client that will include basketball courts, a yoga space and a mini soccer field in addition to a gym and pool.

Even major office occupiers like co-working behemoth WeWork are embracing the wellness trend. The $20B startup opened its first wellness, spa and gym, dubbed Rise by We, in Manhattan this month. The center provides a mix of wellness classes and spa offerings that include yoga and meditation, functional training, kickboxing and other fat-burning and muscle-building classes.