own workers. The architectural frm’s
New York City building is equipped
with sensors that measure daylight,
noise and temperature. The goal is to
help people fnd the best spot for their
work needs and personality―and to
eliminate some of the wandering they
do looking for a place to settle in. That
could reduce employees’ stress over not
being able to control their environment
and save companies from spending
money on square footage no one wants
to use, Mullenix says.
BACK TO NATURE
Difuse natural light is a big factor in creating the best workspaces. An ideal building would have
changing light and color like the outdoors, where humans spent the frst
99 percent of their existence, Medina,
the biochemist, says. Blue light, like the
sky, can spark activity. The color green
can help us focus. And orange light, he
says, can aid in decision-making because sunsets signaled to ancient humans that it was time to plan how to
survive the night.
Ceiling heights are also important,
according to Mullenix and Medina.
Lower ceilings are good for buckling
down on day-to-day tasks. Higher
ones are great for big-picture thinking,
problem-solving and creativity.
Waterfalls and greenery can reduce
stress, improve productivity and boost
people’s immune systems. These natural elements help reduce the anxiety
FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA.
When the principals at printing company Custom
Ink LLC decided to move to a trendy development
outside Washington, D.C., they asked for as
many staircases as possible. The main stairs
spiral around a mobile with 1,000 vibrant origami
cranes folded by the first 1,000 employees.
“It’s a feeling of being part of a broader team,”
says Darcy Smith, head of team development.
Bright colors and natural light aim to spark
creativity. The walls hold examples of the art the
business offers customers on T-shirts and other
items. Communal tables in the cafeteria promote