Commercial Architecture May 2017 - 14
everyone else in the facility, Berman suggested.
Another staff amenity that seems simple but which is
Ken's V I E W
often overlooked is lockers or other personal-effects space.
"If you think about it," Berman said, "everyone shows up for
Buddy, Can You Spare 13 Seconds?
work with cell phones, purses, briefcases, and a host of other
things that need to be put away in a secure, out-of-the-way
space. It declutters the workspace, and people understand
what they can bring to work and what they can't."
"In suburban areas, where people drive, they can leave
stuff in their cars, but in New York City, if you commute
was scanning the headlines not long ago for some
escalator is going to make that much of a difference
news that wasn't political or overly controversial
in your day? Are you that tightly wound? Here's an
when I came across an item about a study that sought
idea. Perhaps you should get up 15 minutes earlier, not
using public transportation with a gym bag, it's a real puzzle
to determine if walking or standing on escalators was
dawdle around checking Facebook and Twitter, and not
where to put it in some facilities. It ends up cluttering patient
stand in line to order that fussy, overly expensive cup
areas," he noted.
OK, that's interesting and it can't arouse too many
of coffee. There you go. Problem solved. Now you have
Even the smallest touches can make a difference, Berman
passions, I reasoned. Wrong. Only a few days went by
plenty of time to stand comfortably on the escalator,
said. He described a specialty clinic where the physicians were
until the story was picked up by several who indeed had
take a few deep breaths, and not annoy other people
booked into the same workroom, the same time slot, every
a very strong opinion about it. "Monsters" one writer
with your overly aggressive, me-first attitude.
day. The even had a drawer where they could leave a few
called escalator standees. He or she then proceeded
Yes, you annoy other people. While you say that
things, maybe as simple as a prescription pad, some business
to castigate standees for being inconsiderate, not
standees make you angry, you don't stop to consider
cards, and a couple of pens. The support staff was also the
decent human beings, and (gasp) misguided. Those
for a moment that you're in the minority, selfishly
same every time the physician was at the facility.
denunciations fall considerably short of the monster
expecting the majority to get out of your way. One
allegation of the headline, but this is the Internet after
study showed that an average of 75% of escalator
all; headlines are seldom well supported by content.
users stand, while the walkers comprise only 25% of
"It set up an esprit de corps and a comfort level that was
consistent from week to week and day to day. We got a lot of
positive follow-up comments on that from people who had
Our intrepid writer stumbled on, even admitting
users. What's more, most of the standees have been
worked in clinics where they didn't have a consistent space
that standing, taken in the aggregate, might have an
conditioned to stand to the right, leaving the left side of
to work and they were sort of floating," Berman said.
advantage over walking - but insisting that didn't
the escalator open for walkers - who somehow feel
entitled to this courtesy.
Having just a little control over their environment, like
necessarily make it better. Huh? Then why was walking
window shades or controllable task lighting, as well as some
better? The author seemed unable to say, babbling only
access to daylighting and views are beneficial to caregivers as
that the walkers hadn't read the research and were
Thirteen seconds, that's what. According the New
well, Berman added.
enraged because some "jerks" were in their way. He
York Times, a London Underground study showed that
Are you ready for what's really at stake here?
"Healthcare design is moving toward a holistic ap-
or she then quoted Jerry Seinfeld, the guy who once
when 40% of the people walked (still not a majority),
proach that looks at programmatic needs, human psy-
did a TV show about nothing. Seinfeld's reasoning was
the average time for standees was 138 seconds and
chology, and family support to heal both body and mind.
that since there are no talking bears and singing pirates
46 seconds for walkers. On the other hand, when
Focusing attention on the needs of the caregivers rein-
to see, escalator users should just move on. Thanks,
everyone stood, the average time fell to 59 seconds.
forces the belief that patients and staff will benefit from a
Jerry. Great insight.
Walkers lost 13 seconds but standees gained 79
healthy well-designed environment," Payette's Milly Baker concluded. CA
Want more information? To download the information
listed below, visit commercialarchitecturemagazine.
Worker Safety in Your Hospital (OSHA)
Facility Guidelines Institute
American College of Healthcare Architects
The Center for Healthcare Design
Nursing Institute for Healthcare Design
American Nurses Credentialing Center
COMMERCI A L A RCHI T EC T URE
The author, and Seinfeld, quite overlooked that
seconds. Researchers also found the length of the
many people may have very good reasons for standing.
line to reach and step onto an escalator dropped to 24
Perhaps they have asthma or a heart condition. Maybe
people from 73.
a bum knee or a bad back. Maybe they're just really,
Who's the monster now? Who's inconveniencing
really tired from working three jobs to make ends meet.
whom? You walkers can't afford to give up 13 seconds
Or listening to people who think Jerry Seinfeld is an
for the common good? And don't tell me you're doing
expert on anything. Who knows? Should not they be as
it for the exercise. It's still self-centered, and if it were
entitled to stand as walkers think they are to walk?
true, you'd use the real stairs or go to the gym.
The one argument people make for walking is that
Will walkers be swayed by studies, statistics, facts,
it is faster - for the walkers, that is. It slows everyone
or perhaps civility? Almost certainly not, unless it's
else down. More about that in a moment; don't be
proven there really are talking bears stationed along
impatient. It's like those people whom I wrote about
some months back who "hated" revolving doors and
But I do have a suggestion to make escalators
so avoided using them. No logical explanation was
more efficient. Do away with the double-wide moving
forthcoming about why they "hated" the doors, but I'm
stairs and make them single-lane models. It might be a
now betting that they perceived that the doors slow
bit more costly, but that way there will be no "walking
lane," and those who insist on walking will have to use
That brings up another point. Are you seriously in
that much of a hurry that a few extra seconds on an
the actual stairs as nature intended.
- Kenneth W. Betz, Senior Editor