October 8, 2017 § 3 Comments
Last spring, we packed 4 bikes, a roof rack, and every pillow & blanket our kids could fit into our car and headed for Zion. We spent 2 weeks mountain biking through Utah before landing just north of Boston, where we started in on renovating our new home. After a few months of Z sweating it out, we’ve finally moved into Hamilton, MA.
Living Room It’s great to follow other designers because I saw this Hudson Louie pillow on Field Theory‘s instagram and got myself an early house warming gift! I put our Valentine’s prints all around the house – it’s fun to see the collection grow over time and each one reminds me of another wild year we’ve had.
Kitchen The kids sit at the island to do homework while we make dinner or eat their breakfast while we all get ready for the day. It’s bright and makes me this place feel like home! Shelves: White Oak, built by Zander, slab from Anderson McQuaid. Hardware: Lewis Dolin. Cabinets: Ikea!
Dining Room We finally have a space big enough for our dinning table! This room feels 10 years in the making, and it’s my favorite spot to work when I’m home. Carpet (still going 8 years strong!) Chairs: Target. Candlesticks: Roost.
This is a fun nook of the Dining Room. I used an image of this terrarium for one of my first Concept Design presentations and had to track one down. I couldn’t find a link to save my life, but hopefully I’ll plant it soon! Planter basket: Amazon. Art: Oliver Jeffers.
Thacher’s Room The kids have their own rooms – finally! We indulged in some mom-kiddo design and Thach picked the wave wallpaper. We spraypainted my mom’s childhood desk and found her name scribbled inside a drawer! Chair: Serena & Lily. Wallpaper & Pillow: Aimee Wilder. Throw: Design Within Reach.
Marley’s Room I need to do a whole post on Marley’s room, every direction is just as good as the next! I love this little corner with her beanbag and the desk that we wrapped wtih cactuses ourselves during a great DIY day! We also painted her and Thacher’s chairs, which my mom salvaged from my preschool! Beanbag Chair: Pottery Barn Kids. Vanity textile: Spoonflower. Carpet: West Elm.
This house holds my mom’s childhood desk, chairs from my preschool classroom, a valentine’s print for every year we’ve been married, and a dining table that Zander and I bought 9 years ago and have been waiting to fit into a home. We’re finally there and it feels great. I’m excited to finally get to share and look forward to musing on the seasons with all of you!
November 4, 2016 § Leave a comment
Patagonia reports that 100% of mom’s have returned to work in the past 5 years after giving birth, a statistic that far out-performs the nation’s average of 65%. With 92% of Millennials reporting Live/Work balance as the top priority when considering a new job, it’s no surprise that as Millennials find partners and start families, workplaces that accommodate their family needs will stand apart from the rest in talent retention.
Employers have developed rich and diverse amenity offerings from in-house food services to barber shops, bike repair, and even doggy day-care. So why not child day-care? Many companies have legal reservations regarding daycare administration, but these reservations are founded in easily navigable legal territory – increased insurance and local licensing among the top concerns. Forbes puts the starting cost of opening a childcare facility at $30,000 while top estimates push $84,000. National childcare operations, like Bright Horizons, partner with corporations across the country to offer on-site, employer-sponsored childcare.
Patagonia is not the only employer who has identified on-site childcare as a priority for maintaining a happy, healthy workplace environment. Clifbar, Aflac, and the U.S Military also offer on-site childcare.
So, what is the payback? 95% of employees say that access to an on-site child care centers at work helps them concentrate throughout the day. Aside from the incredible rates of retention, higher live/work balance satisfaction, and increased feelings of fulfillment at work, there are hard line financial incentives also. Fast Company reports that “facilities may claim a tax credit of up to 25% of the facility expenditures, plus 10% of any resource and referral expenditures in a calendar year, up to a limit of $150,000.”
With the rise of flexible work/life policies, collaboration technology, and feasibility of freelance work, employers are competing to make their offices places employees want to be, rather than need be. As the Millennial generation settles into their family years, look for daycare to become the defining amenity at many corporations with exceptional corporate culture.
December 17, 2015 § Leave a comment
As healthcare costs skyrocket, wellness and wellbeing is becoming an increasingly relevant topic to employers everywhere. Workplace strategists continue to explore how to build, from the roots of the organization, the healthiest communities possible. To gain insight, we can look to the successful implementation policies around us to search for an equation for success. Employers know that keeping employees healthy is good for workers and for the profitability of the business. However, most employers do not know precisely how to create a healthy workplace or healthy workforce.
What causes success on a larger scale? Peter Drucker, famed management consultant who focuses on the importance of culture, once stated, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast, operational excellence for lunch, and everything else for dinner.” To attain a healthy workplace, we must first employ the techniques to achieve a healthy culture. Ron Goetz, of the Institute for Health and Productivity Studies at Johns Hopkins University applies these teachings to the development of healthy workplace environments, “the strongest workplace wellness programs are building a culture of health that interweaves individual health needs with the overall company goals, and are backed by senior leadership.”
A solid foundation means building the workplace to meet the functional needs of a work place. Bernice Boucher, Managing Director-Americas of JLL’s Workplace Solutions team has a “Crimes Against Productivity” Top 3 list. The list is meant to tackle the top three obstacles to productivity, contending that without an environment to host successful productivity, employees can’t begin to entertain a culture of health. The “Top 3” are:
- “It’s too hot.” or “It’s too cold.”
- “I can’t find a meeting room.”
- “I don’t have the quiet or privacy to get my job done.”
Designers are often given a program and a list of aspirations and expectations at the outset of a project. But the base demands must be fulfilled first – combating Boucher’s list of “Crimes Against Productivity.” Only then we can encourage, promote, and explore the opportunities already being tested by some of the most in-demand employers in the country: gyms for fitness, yoga and nap rooms for quiet and meditation, laundry service and daycare for work-life balance.
The Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) and the Institute for Health and Productivity Studies (IHPS) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health partnered to release an ‘evidence-based workplace health promotion guide for employers’ – a cheat sheet to implement the right health agenda in each office. The guide highlights five workplace wellness program best practices:
- Administer a baseline survey
- Identify a senior leader who will support and participate
- Make bold choices to implement changes
- Implement smart incentives
- Dedicate communication
A recent Gensler study builds on this, outlining key planning strategies when designing a healthy workplace environments:
- Make workers more active
- Provide easy access to water and healthy snacks
- Design for healthy air quality
- Bring nature into the office
- Consider the sensory environment
- Provide lighting which responds to the circadian rhythms
- Design for ergonomic needs
- Control your density (square feet per worker)
- “Nudge”: indicate areas that promote health with branding or signage
Successful workplace design takes the background, ethos, and vision of a company and turns it into physical spaces where employees spend a significant portion of their lives. The conversation on designing for wellness in workspace continues to evolve. There is inspiration at all stops along the road – from clients, friends and coworkers and experiences in our own lives. This exploration process is, in itself, a healthy exercise. As more thought is focused on spaces that drive healthy behaviors, we can perpetuate our own culture of health.
July 29, 2015 § Leave a comment
Wellness has been a hot-button issue in the global arena, percolating into workplace environments on many levels. As the workday gets longer, employees’ health and wellbeing are impacted by their workplace to a greater degree than ever before. To maintain physical and mental wellbeing at work, employers are adding social amenities, food service, fitness facilities, better light and air quality, and organizational changes. The healthier the work environment, the fewer sick leaves will be taken, and the more effective workers will be. As staff is the most costly expense of any company, a healthy work place will save the employer money and create a better work. The new workplace is a live-work space.
One leading technology giant specifies minimum wellness amenities including massage rooms, hydration stations, game rooms, nap pods, meditation rooms, quiet rooms, walking workstations, gyms, lockers/showers, and bike storage. In addition, this employer offers its employees readily available healthy meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner prepared by renowned chefs. Many employees at this company report feeling healthier at work than they do at home. Amenities such as these are popping up at Twitter, YouTube, Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn, among others.
A technology-based venture capital firm recognizes their firm road cycling team as one of the best ways to catch up with a colleague. Many companies are adopting walking meetings to get employees literally out of the box. The technology industry is creatively going to great lengths to incorporate wellness into the workday.
Findings support up to a 25% percent reduction in absenteeism and sick days when Wellness Programs are put in place. Encouraging health and wellness is a means to enrich the quality and content of the work.
Even bettering the air we breathe has become a top priority for workplace standards and construction. Living walls are popular in many workspaces for their biophilic characteristics. Their metabolic process also delivers oxygen into the space as well as the visual improves human emotion. In fact, LEED has begun to offer points for indoor plantings under “Innovation in Operation and Maintenance credit under LEED for existing buildings 2.0.
The entire building industry has developed an integrated effort in programs like WELL and LEED to ensure a healthy environment from sourcing building materials to the finished space. US Green Building Council has found that “LEED certified buildings save money and resources and have a positive impact on the health of occupants, while promoting renewable, clean energy.” The latest building program, WELL focuses entirely on “human wellness in the built environment.”
These programs include sustainably harvested materials and low emissions transportation of materials, minimizing the impact of building materials on the environment. Low emitting or low-VOC materials are also targeted for maintaining a healthy indoor air quality for occupants. Buildings utilize automatic sensors for to increase the use of daylighting. Even the construction debris is considered in the air quality of the building.
A sustainably built workplace can decrease sick days, decrease building maintenance cost, and increase energy cost savings.
That’s it for Tech Trends! Next up… FUN at work!
July 23, 2015 § Leave a comment
Work looks different today. The abundance of more affordable technology and high speed networking capabilities has allowed knowledge workers the ability to be productive on laptops, smart phones, tablets, wearables, etc. On these devices, people can research, create presentations, manage correspondence, and conduct data analysis. As Wi-Fi is developing into a standard utility, like water and electricity, people are becoming increasingly mobile.
When laptops and VPNs first became available, many companies offered employees the flexibility to work remotely, reducing commuting and encouraging a positive work-life balance. As the trend strengthened, an unanticipated decline in productivity was experienced. Employees’ work-life balance improved, however, and people now expect to have the same freedom of choice and mobility at work.
In 2013, Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo!, famously issued a “back to the office” policy, demanding that employees either return to the office for work or leave the company. Following her lead, many tech companies now design their workplaces to accommodate work-life balance while at work, offering free food, laundry service, gyms, yoga studios, and even daycare. With more employees at the office, the company will allow for more opportunities to collaborate and innovate.
As offices allow for a greater variety of activities at work, it is inefficient to design a space for each function. Workplace designers must now design for the flexibility to accommodate many functions in each space. Furniture is developed as a tool to enable different behavior – whether it is team gather, ideation, or individual focus. A change in needs can now compel a small furniture change rather than a full renovation.
Policy implementation and playing on the strengths of cultural ‘place’ behavior allow companies to implement behavioral change without forceful policy reform. The name “library” connotes the cultural expectation of a quiet, heads’ down environment and a policy of silence is not needed for hushed voices and muted cell phones in the space. Town halls, cozies, nooks, forums, mingle zones and their respective design layouts implicate behavior and actualize intended policy. In this way, employees can move around within the office to optimize the environment best suited to their work priorities.
As businesses aim to offer productive, task-appropriate workspace, interior architecture has developed into a series of open, semi-enclosed, and closed zones. The workplace develops and responds to its inhabitants as quickly as their behavior evolves. The workplace is constantly iterating.
Flexibility empowers employees and employers to optimize efficiency and productivity. Also, it may just lead to greater health and wellbeing. Please look for this discussion in the next edition of Tech Trends, Health and Wellbeing.
March 26, 2015 § Leave a comment
December 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
As we settle in for the holidays, we’re wanting to settle slightly deeper into our furniture. What better way to pull up your knees, grab a blanket, and sip some eggnog than with a sectional. Here are some well-priced options to cozy up to this winter…
Ditto Sectional, CB2, $1899
District Sectional, CB2, $1999
Crosby Sectional, West Elm, $2298
April 28, 2014 § Leave a comment
Lillet + Champagne (here)
Danielle (friend) and I have been obsessing over these Vincent Van Duysen Ceramic Pots. They come in many sizes, but they all have a tremendous presence and gorgeous mood. I LOVE them.
Reception + Stair of Italian Skateboard Company office. (store)
Just noticing how worldly these 4 things are… Travel far, live well…
April 25, 2014 § 1 Comment
I can be a little on the lazy side… If there’s one place to go and get everything I need, I will gladly do that. So, I was thrilled to find that 7 on Locust has set up shop in my local Mill Valley! And for any of you who suffer the same malady, don’t worry – you can be even lazier than I am, and access their offerings via the website.
I was recently in and 7 on Locusts’ owner, Nadine Curtis, walked me through some fave’s! Thought I’d share…
MANDELA: The Authorized Portrait by Mac Maharaj, $50. Silver Stream Pebble Table & Gold Tree Stump Table, call 7 on Locust for pricing, 415.388.9696. Cruiser Sail Tote by 7 on Locust with Recycled America’s Cup Sails, $49.
I love the offerings, but the reason it’s worth a visit is to see the artistic community that Nadine is nurturing in her space. Not every storekeeper opens up the back of their space for fellow artists and designers to keep office space and collaborate, but Nadine has embraced her community, continuing to surround herself with friends and inspiration! A meeting of creative minds is always a good time, and the front side of the store is just a reflection of how beautiful that can be!