Are you happy at work?

Kirsten Ritchie, Director of Sustainable Design at Gensler, identifies 10 key health and happiness attributes prevalent in the workplace that affect personal productivity and, ultimately, the fiscal bottom line of a business. Kirsten provides suggestions for “Well Being” design interventions, used for creating both physically and mentally healthy spaces.

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Activity: Enable stand-up meetings, open stairwells, planned indoor/outdoor walking paths, sit/stand workstations and sports areas (ping-pong, bocce ball fitness areas)

Water & Nutrition: Provide convenient access to fresh water, and provide food labeling in cafe and vending machines

Healthy Air: Air and water filtration, eliminate VOC’s, provide access to fresh air

Interaction with Nature: Bring plants into the workplace, provide access to the outdoors, introduce quality views of nature

Sensory Environment: Provide music, adjust light intensity, provide views and sounds of nature, introduce texture and color, avoid long or large expanses of neutral colored corridors and workspaces

creativeAcoustics: Introduce elements of visual privacy, improve acoustic performance of interior space, improve HVAC acoustic performance, carefully plan and located collaborative and focus areas of the office

Lighting: Find ways to minimize disruption to circadian rhythms by varying color temperature and intensity, introduce daylight and controls, consider variable light levels and a variety of bright colors in office environments, introduce full spectrum lighting where needed to supplement day lighting

Ergonomics: Break up long periods of sitting with adjustable seating/workstations, use exercise to prevent 11030injury and promote good posture, support changing postures at workstations, provide adjustable height desks and adjustable monitor and keyboard support

User Control:
Introduce a variety of work settings, provide personal control of storage, lighting and HVAC, allow for individual personalization of individual and team workspace

Motivators and Nudges: Make choices easy and fun (using stairs & going outside), communicate the benefits through environmental branding

Want to learn more? Enroll in Kirsten’s free course today and remember to buy your seat in Sustainable Building Advisor!

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About instructor Kirsten Ritchie – Principal | Director of Sustainable Design, Gensler

Kirsten Ritchie is Principal/Director of Sustainable Design, Asia/Pacific Region, for Gensler, a global architecture and design firm. In this role she serves as one of the firms leading sustainability ambassadors and evangelists, engaging staff, clients and the public on innovative and sustainable design, construction and operational thinking. She is an accomplished speaker and educator, whose dynamic and practical insights have inspired audiences across the world. A recognized expert in green product standards and sustainability rating systems (including LEED and CHPS), Kirsten is a leading advocate for performance based design. She played a pivotal role in the development of SCS Indoor Advantage, Floorscore®, level, NSF’s sustainable flooring standards (140 and 332), and BIFMA’s sustainable furniture standards (e3, M7.1 and x7.1), which have led to transformational changes in the flooring and furniture industries. She is now actively involved the development and implementation of standards and guidelines at the organizational level, focused on improving the sustainability performance of global estate portfolios. Ms. Ritchie is a LEED® AP+ (O+M) and a licensed Professional Engineer. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from California State University, San Jose. She serves on the Board of Directors of the US Green Building Council and the Ecological Building Network and is an adjunct professor at the California College of the Arts.