Ethonomics: Designing for the principles of the modern workplace.

A new paper by Teknion and Perkins+Will explores the connections between sustainability and human health. Examining key drivers of workplace wellness including: technology, food, urban environments, movement, nature, disruption and sensory stimuli, the authors explore how workplace design can impact employee wellness.

We are beginning to see a cultural shift—a new awareness of how deeply human and environmental health are connected. If we begin with a discussion of the lifestyle choices we make as individuals, we must consider three key features of the cultural landscape that influence our behaviors, our health and that of the natural world. These are technology, food and the urban environment.

Considering the impact of human systems on natural systems—and the impact of the natural and built environments upon human beings—we can posit that the power of design today is something more than aesthetics, communication or the creation of desirable products. Rather, it must be practiced as a process of integrative thinking—a synthesis of design, technology, science and humanistic principles—set within the context of social, economic and environmental ethics: “Ethonomics.”

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In this paper, the authors posit the idea that well-designed space, in all its forms can be a catalyst for physical and psychological health. As such, ethonomics is a deeper dive into our understanding of sustainability and what that means in terms of human beings at work.

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