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Health & Wellness in the Workplace

At NeoCon 2018, the Interior Design hosted its annual Health & Wellness Roundtable.  This event is attended by industry leaders ranging from designers, product manufactures to end users.  The two-hour conversation covered many topics including promoting wellness in a built environment.  Participants were eager to learn from each other’s design achievements and conflicts they have encountered, and to share ideas, innovations and resources.  Many revealed challenges they face in creating a space that encourages optimal health.  Some of these challenges include constrained budgets and the need to demonstrate the ROI (Return on Investment) of various design elements. 

One senior designer described a recent hospital upgrade project and how she conquered these challenges.  She said that now patients “vie to get admitted to the floors with the good product.”  Many designers agreed on the difficulty to address a broad demographic with different needs.  This is especially true in facilities that treat multiple generations.  Amenities and concierge services are becoming enticing for these structures, but so are novelties like an on-site Starbucks-which attracts consumers of all ages.  This not only helps encourage an intergenerational mix, but also draws in members of the neighboring community.  The impact of the built environment on a patient’s emotional state is, all agreed, an area that needs improvement.

The big takeaway from the discussion was how much designers and manufactures are thinking about the experience of healthcare spaces for both the patients and providers.  Designers need to address help people with problems they can’t even see.  They need to think about the bigger picture of design, rather than just the finishes and to communicate to their clients that design is so much more than just aesthetics.

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