Designing For The Healthy Office: How Students Define And Envision Healthy Workplaces Focus Group Research – Initial Data Analysis - April 6, 2017

Designing For The Healthy Office: How Students Define And Envision Healthy Workplaces Focus Group Research – Initial Data Analysis

This white paper summarizes the novel methodology and preliminary findings of two focus groups the Center for Healthy Workplaces conducted in Fall 2016 to understand how undergraduate students, members of Generation Z, define seven drivers of need satisfaction—comfort, connection, equity, flexibility, privacy, predictability, and safety—and envision workplaces that support these qualities.  In each focus group, participants were assigned to a single driver and worked individually and in teams to define the driver in their own words and then brainstorm, using words and images, corresponding architectural and interior design features.  Importantly, by assigning participants to a single driver, we allowed each person to think deeply about one topic and in so doing provided sufficient space for more creative solutions to emerge (e.g., how to design for privacy beyond building a private office).  This research makes two important contributions to the Center’s mission to change how we think about and create healthy workplaces.  First, it illuminates the unique needs and values of today’s youngest members of today’s workforce, Generation Z, meanwhile offering insight into how to translate the Center’s model of worker wellness to the specific needs of a demographic group or organizational context.  Second, it articulates, in participants’ own words and drawings, how these ideas can be realized in workplace environments, thereby providing insights valuable to designers and managers alike.  Since publishing this white paper, we conducted a third focus group (April 2017) and presented findings at conferences on topics including environmental psychology and occupational safety and health.  Further publications and conference presentations are forthcoming.