"Design is at the heart of everything we do in our workspace"
Wellness is a rising trend worldwide. This is because we now understand, better than ever, how mental and physical health affects our productivity. Today, offices and flexible workspaces are going through a transformation, and more spaces are following a human-centric model which seeks to boost the well-being of its workers.
By working in a coworking space members are already making a healthy choice, as it enables connection and agility by being part of a community in a flexible workspace. But how can managers further incorporate wellness into their space? The next coworking space in our interview series has spent a lot of time studying environmental psychology, in order to design a workspace that positively impacts its community and accelerates their success.
Werqwise is a collaborative workspace in San Francisco that truly puts its community at the centre of what they do and are trying to change “the way the world works by approaching workspace unconventionally.”
Video of the Werqwise space and team
The team is dedicated to helping its community work smarter and realise their full potential. By designing everything in their space, the Werqwise team want to mentally stimulate their members’, in order to encourage innovation and help them prosper.
Let’s explore what the Werqwise team shared in the interview and how they enable their community to ‘werq wisely’. We spoke with the CEO - Alan Mackay, CFO - Naveen Khugputh, and CPO - Richard Evans.
What is Werqwise all about?
Alan: We focus on the people and how they use the space. It’s not about me, it’s not about the Werqwise team and it’s not about Werqwise. This is about each individual, each organisation, how we support them and empower them in the workplace.
How important is the community to Werqwise?
Naveen: The people, our members are everything, that’s our entire focus.
Richard: I see members investing in our community, as much as we’re investing in it.
Alan: The members driving our community and driving what we deliver becomes the environment. It makes us stay on top of where this business should be going and helps us to deliver what allows them to be the best they want to be.
How does the design of your space impact Werqwise?
Alan: We design everything. Every piece of furniture, every element of everything that we’ve done within the space is specifically designed and manufactured to support that.
The design of the space is absolutely at the heart of everything we do. The design for acoustics, it’s designed to be environmentally friendly, it’s designed to make sure that we minimize waste. It’s designed to make sure that we can build with complete flexibility and deliver back to our members what we are promising to, which is ‘it’s got to be designed for you’.
Naveen: We spent a lot of time looking at environmental psychology and how that impacts people, and how they behave in different environments. So everything is designed to create an atmosphere of calm. For example, the way we light the space and we use a lot of greenery, as green is a very calming colour.
The environment in which we work can have a significant impact on the way we feel and therefore perform. However, each individual requires different emotional, physical and supportive environments in order to be at the top of their game. But there are simple changes you can make to help most, if not all, members feel happier in your space so that they can be more productive.
Another rising trend, associated with wellness, that I’m sure many of you have seen is ‘biophilic’ design in the workplace. ‘Biophilia’ is described by Harvard biologist, E.O.Wilson as the innate affinity of human beings with the natural world. As the well-being trend rises, the benefits of biophilic workplace design are becoming more widely recognised, and incorporating nature in the modern office is becoming the norm, e.g. plants, daylight, fish tanks, fractal patterns, and designs that mimic nature. Including anything that evokes the natural world in your coworking space can help relieve stress, boost creativity and improve mental wellbeing. Plus, living plants improve air-quality!
Werqwise is a perfect example of a coworking space that has carefully considered its design in order to help its members thrive. You can also check out our interviews with other coworking spaces which reveal how they help and support their community!
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