Creating Healthy Spaces Doesn’t Mean Compromising on Aesthetics
Healthcare design elements provide form and function to uncertain office environments
Expectations have changed. We don’t just want beautiful design and ergonomics from our workspace. We want crisis-level preparedness. Medical-grade materials? Cleaning and sanitization protocols? Yes. All of it. We want the assurance our physical health isn’t being jeopardized by returning to a shared space.
How? Call it design crossover. Use techniques and materials from one industry and apply them to another. Right now, tried-and-true infection prevention design found in hospitals is also relevant to the workplace. This approach provides support for those in the space. It facilitates movement. It builds confidence. And if it’s done well, aesthetics aren’t sacrificed to accommodate form and function. Users won’t even have to think about it. It’s an invisible touch.
Lift and shift with a twist
That invisibility is what’s needed in the new workplace. We want to feel secure. We want to know our space is safe. But we don’t want to feel like we’re working in a hospital (unless we are, but that’s a different story). So how do we do that? We have to be smart about design.
Curate what we need to create beautiful and worry-free spaces. And then build them. Construct environments that let individuals relax. Embed technology in the wall so that can’t be a breeding ground for germs. And for surfaces that can carry germs, make them as easy to clean as possible. That way users can concentrate on their work instead of worrying about their wellness. It opens mental and physical space to live in the moment. But it has to be done in a way that’s subtle. Never seen, but always felt.
This is all possible. Tapping into the materials, technology and principals used in healthcare facilities is the first step. Giving them a design spin to deliver total functionality in any environment is the next. Then combine these concepts to make spaces that can respond to adjustments in the future. We already have the tools we need. We just have to use them in new ways.
Feel better. Do better. That’s what the invisible touch of design crossover can unlock.
This article is part of a series on rethinking space.
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