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Healing Offices Study shows significant positive results

of healthy working environment of no less than 10% increase in employee productivity

With this Healing Offices study, D/DOCK proves that the working environment has a significant impact on the productivity and the well-being of the users of a building. In 2014, our teams launched the Healing Offices concept, a design method that contributes to the productivity and well-being of the users. This approach has been employed successfully for projects such as Macaw’s new building, the offices of Google Amsterdam, buildings by project developer OVG Real Estate and for travel provider @Leisure Group.

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By developing a research method and collecting data on the actual effect of the design, D/DOCK aims to continue to learn and innovate, always based on visionary creativity. We further developed the Healing Offices evidence-based design method, after which the next logical question was: how do we prove that this approach truly works?

The first case study was carried out at Macaw in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands. This full service digital partner is fully committed to the vitality of its employees and found a suitable approach in Healing Offices and a suitable partner in D/DOCK. One year later, it became clear that the move to a new environment was delivering overwhelmingly positive results.

“I believe that we have created a working environment that contributes to our ambition go home at the end of the day with more energy than you had when you arrived” Ronald van Es, CFO Macaw

The goal was to combine the impact of both hard and soft factors and to determine the significance of the effect of the physical design, while bearing in mind the degree of responsibility that the organization itself has in the productivity and the well-being of the employees.

This study has been carried out under the supervision of environmental psychologist Anicee Bauer and in close cooperation with Macaw. The project was financed by project developer Delta Development.

Research method
Based on the research methodology developed for Healing Offices, Anicee hopes to be able to assess the quality of the working environment in a neutral way. For that reason, she awards points to each design quality or objective variable:

Healthy Food: to offer a variety of healthy food which is easy accessible

Exercise: is integrated in different work typologies, for example standing tables, walking area, a garden, and easy access staircases

Re-energizing: by integrating relaxation rooms, contemplation corners, the possibility to have a powernap and integrating nature

Nature (biophilic design): nature is integrated by a variety of plants, natural materials, paintings of landscapes, fountains or a fireplace

Daylight: for instance a big window surface, sun protection, transparency, and placing workspaces close to the windows, this all increases the amount of daylight in an environment

Ownership: means that employees are able to have an influence over their work and their working environment, they are able to customize their work by co-creation, participation, adjusting tables and chairs, arranging the indoor climate and chosing their favorite workspot

Diversity: most attractive is a working environment with a good balance between complexity, mystery, cohesion and readability, a variety of work typologies with different materials, textures, forms and colors

Connectedness: Unity, autonomy and competence. A place for memories, rituals, friendships, and community, by stressing the values, vision and mission of the company

Sustainability: this means that a company is environmentally conscious and dedicates itself to using the planet’s finite resources in a responsible manner, integrating local and sustainable materials and products with an emotional connection to nature

Indoor climate: studies have shown that the quality of the indoor climate of a working environment has an impact on the health and level of absenteeism of employees.

Next, Anicee used an extensive questionnaire to measure the subjective perceptions of employees, for example, with regard to their health, enthusiasm, feelings of solidarity, cooperation and productivity.

We carried out the objective and subjective measurements in both the old situation in 2016 and in the new situation in 2018, which enabled the differences to be analyzed.

In that way, we mainly reached these following conclusions:

• in general, employees feel 10% more productive
• thanks to the open space and the openness, the space feels like one floor
• the varying and inspiring design and styling enhances the sense of pride
• the varying and inspiring design and styling reduces negative stress
• employees generally feel more energetic
• employees are now better able to relax after a day of work
• employees indicate that they are exercising more and work in more active postures
• despite the openness of the new environment, the sense of privacy has not diminished
• the use of the relaxation space is not yet being fully adopted
• 76% believe that they have more personal contact with other colleagues

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Don’t feel like reading? Watch this presentation about Healing Offices: