Health & Well-being in offices: are you a Squirrel or a Beaver?

With a group of real estate professionals, OID conducted a study on well-being in offices, approached through sociological profiles. The publication was released in July 2019.

Photo Credit: Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

Health and well-being have come to the forefront of ESG stakes for the real estate industry. Three among many examples illustrate this underlying trend: real estate projects now include plenty of services to tenants, certifications focused on health and well-being gain in popularity, and research projects try to quantify the impact of well-being on productivity.

This trend translates into similar layouts, often following the codes of start-ups. However, at OID, we are convinced that each of us has specific expectations resulting from different sociological factors. In 2018 and 2019, we gathered in workshops an expert group of real estate actors and a sociologist to answer the following questions:

  • Which factors have an impact on expectations towards well-being in offices?
  • Which sociological portraits can we draw from them?
  • How this can be translated into interior layouts?

Perhaps quite surprisingly, both the generation and the gender were questioned in the workshops. Nevertheless, what participants favored as explanatory factors for well-being expectations are personality traits. Is the person an introvert or an extrovert? Are they motivated firstly by individual performance or by social interactions at the workplace?

From these factors, we derived sociological portraits with different expectations. Two of them are the Squirrel and the Beaver. The Squirrel is looking to engage within the organization, is hyperactive and an extrovert. On the other hand, the Beaver is an introvert, his motivation is individual performance. Possible portraits are countless, each organization can involve their employees to define their own portraits. Portraits help better understand how expectations can be answered through interior layouts, and they also help identify possible conflicts between expectations, for instance, someone willing to have a quiet space versus someone inspired by a buzzing area.

What our project offers to real estate actors is a methodology to understand the various expectations of occupiers, how they match or collide, and how they can be translated into real estate projects. As food for thought, we also presented a few possible actions in the workplace around 3 themes: spaces & layout, links & interaction between people, and management.

This article was written by Oriane Cebile, Project Manager at OID.