The office of a new era - Healing Offices® focuses on the mood and health of employees


‘Smart Working’ seemed to be the answer to saving costs by reducing the square footage of office, but does this design principle lead to better working environments, happier employees and a better organisation?

D/DOCK Innovation developed the Healing Offices® concept, where the focus lies on the health and state of mind of the individual through an environment that supports a healthy lifestyle and triggers positive changes in behaviour; happy employees means lower absenteeism and higher productivity.

In 2012, the Dutch health insurance rose to over 90 billion Euro. An increase of 3.7 per cent compared to the previous year. On the principle that health care costs will continue to rise in the future, like an increase in lifestyle and work-related diseases, public health is one of the biggest social and economic obstacles. Moreover, new ways of working for a disturbed work-life balance conducted: there was always expected from the employee that they can work anywhere and be accessible, which negatively contributed to increasing work-related stress.

This design approach focuses on the mood and health of the individual and offers a solution to the changing needs and disturbed work-life balance of employees. What makes a Healing Office® unique? The design elements not only respond to relaxation, exercise and healthy food but also to ‘soft’ factors that are strongly associated with happiness like; connectedness, engagement and autonomy.

The customer wanted to know more about what the Healing Offices® concept means for their specific business. D/DOCK started D/Science in 2014 to integrate psychological knowledge and research in the design. This is called evidence-based design and can facilitate positive working environment behavioural and changes that promote mood, motivation and habits of employees. D/Science can evaluate the effects of a Healing Office® in a pre- and post-test.

This results in buildings aimed at output rather than efficiency with the associated quality of design and materialisation.

D/DOCK focuses on lower absenteeism (30 per cent), increased productivity (20 per cent) and a longer life expectancy (10 years).

Healing Offices® projects include: Google, Amsterdam (2014); Motion 10, Rotterdam (2015); Amgen, Munich (2016); and Macaw, Amsterdam (expected June 2017).

Part of the costs is covered by health insurance. The program can also be implemented in parts.

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