Next-Level Workspaces Are Measured in “Healthfulness”

Light, air, movement, nourishment, connectedness, and mindfulness are transforming the modern workplace into a space that bolsters cognitive and emotional health, thanks to the WELL Building Institute.

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In all likelihood, the office space you occupy doesn’t quite measure up—in any way, shape, or form—to the Washington, DC, headquarters of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). After all, modern buildings routinely expose us to conditions that may compromise our well-being, sabotage our mood, squelch our creativity, and even keep our focus squarely on Friday at 5:00. By contrast, every high- and low-tech detail of ASID’s workplace has been reimagined and retrofitted to promote physical and/or mental health, the goal being to positively affect both the well-being and productivity of everyone working there. And the results of this nearly-three-year-old experiment, which may one day serve as a model for a vast assortment of cubicled wastelands, have been so striking that it’s not hard to imagine the staff of 30 collectively uttering the unthinkable: Thank goodness it’s Monday.

Among the many hallmarks of this 7,500-square-foot office is the attention paid to the quality of light. The space purposefully faces northwest, so it’s bathed in a soft ambient shimmer throughout the entire day. The interior lighting is synced to parallel the human body’s circadian rhythm, so the bright, white bulbs that supplement the morning sun gradually give way to warmer, yellow hues that help prepare for t