IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 10
IIDA Industry Roundtable
For this year's IIDA Industry Roundtable, thirty members of the
interior design community assembled over a weekend in January
to parse the phenomenon of Well-Being in the Workplace. The
three-day confab addressed employee well-being as a necessary
component in design strategy, and gave participants new
perspectives on human-focused design.
Find the full report at www.iida.org/content.cfm/iida-ann-industry-roundtable.
Clients are enlisting interiors firms (and their industry
partners) to help increase employee productivity, satisfaction,
and retention-and to improve their overall work culture.
Ergonomic products and multiple work environments that
support an employee's physical, emotional, social, and mental
health are regarded as design approaches that foster employee
growth, choice, and engagement.
Three well-being specialists kicked off the weekend with
guest presentations. Roy Abernathy IIDA, AIA, IFMA, REGA,
ULI, a senior managing director of Savills Studley, talked
about his experience as a veterinarian and biomedical
researcher; sustainability ambassador Kirsten Ritchie, PE,
LEED® AP O+M, a principal at Gensler San Francisco, spoke
about green product standards, sustainability rating systems,
and biophilia; and Lois Wellwood, IIDA, a principal at NBBJ,
Seattle, shared futurist insights on neurological research
about how environmental stressors compromise well-being
How Did We Get Here? The Genesis Of Well-Being
A futurist presentation by moderator Cheryl Durst, Hon.
FIIDA, contextualized the weekend's topic within the broader
landscape of cultural trends, offering a long view that couched
well-being as a byproduct of increasing prosperity and
wherewithal, cycling back three centuries.
Well-being is gaining momentum as an extension of the
sustainability movement that has dominated the design
landscape in the last decade. While sustainability has tended
to be more in the purview of architecture, well-being depends
more on interior design. "Energy consumption used to be
controlled by a building's envelope and systems," said Ritchie.
"Now that structures have become very efficient, the focus can
shift to optimizing the efficiency of interiors, which gives
designers much more responsibility."
The Economics Of Well-Being
Well-being is not just big news; it's also big business.
And the economic implications cut both ways: Boosting
employees' well-being also boosts an organization's bottom
line, while squelching it correlates to money loss.
With health-care costs rising at a stratospheric rate, companies are paying dearly to accommodate their sedentary
workforce and businesses of all stripes are embracing wellbeing as a strategy to lower their expenditures. Initiatives
can take the form of employer sponsored medical screenings,
incentives for meeting body-mass index and blood-pressure
targets, gym membership subsidies, nutritious food options
in corporate cafeterias and a more holistic view of healthiness
that includes mental wellness and stress reduction, targeted
via benefits like flex time, sabbaticals, and generous vacation
packages. Fostering well-being has also been linked to
increased efficiency and productivity, enhancing employee