Wellbeing and Workspaces

BY - Paola Bettinelli

Environmental quality is a key factor for worker’s physical and psychological health, and workplace environment is a complex system where several factors do interact. We ask Renata Sias, Us-Ufficio Stile’s Editor from Sole 24 business media to provide insights into trends in our wellbeing.

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Stocklands Corporation Ltd, Sydney, Australia

twsm How much does workplace quality weigh on employees’ attitude and productivity?
rs The workspace must be considered a corporate asset, able to boost interaction, knowledge sharing and creativity. Environmental quality is a key factor for workers’ physical and psychological health. If a person is well, they will do the best they can and thanks to what psychologists call ‘emotional empathy’, the collective wellbeing creates a virtuous cycle within the firm.

twsm Which architectural and functional elements contribute to creating a good place to work?
rs The work environment must be designed with a holistic approach in order to create balance while at the same time be dynamic and flexible. Functionality, ergonomics and safety are at its base. A good place to work does not neglect engineering quality, acoustic comfort, air and olfactory quality, chromatic balance, the presence of green areas and of eco-sustainability. A suitable layout must guarantee space for privacy and concentration, but also plan for communication and interaction. Spaces for relaxation and reflection are also highly desired by employees.

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Antonio Citterio, Zegna Office, Milano, Italy

twsm Which trends can be identified in current design?
rs Furniture manufacturers have understood the workplace’s key role. All the fairs that exhibited pieces with high-quality ergonomics, are strongly design-oriented, have the capacity for customisation and are increasingly focused on sustainability.

twsm Last February, Ufficiostile announced the winners of its first US Award for interior design. What is state of art in this field?
rs The quality office must be created on the basis of new cultural and organizational corporate models that increase creativity, cooperation and the individual’s ‘entrepreneurial’ skill. Important changes have taken place in the firms’ organizational structure. These include the lack of clear work categories, multiple roles and varying work locations. More enlightened firms have understood that a quality corporate office is also a valid communication instrument that conveys the brand to the external world while creating a sense of belonging within the firm.

twsm Could you give some concrete examples that best express these goals that you speak of?
rs The projects that entered our last US Awards were well represented by Italy’s best, including the winners, Antonio Citterio’s Zegna office, Riccardo Diotallevi’s Elica Office, and Grafton Architects and Dante Bonuccelli’s Bocconi home. These represented state of the art planning solutions. Other relevant examples abroad are given by Best Office Award, organized by the Colone Orgatec Fair, which, last year awarded Osnabrück’ services company, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, and Sydney’s real estate company Stockland.

[W  antoniocitterioandpartners.it    elica.it    stockland.com    ufficiostile-online.it    unibocconi.it]

Photos. The images are courtesy of Assufficio.

[W federlegnoarredo.it]

Published in the hard-copy of Work Style Magazine, Spring 2009