Standing desks, office meditation sessions and healthy snacks have become common in modern workplaces as corporate culture shifts toward greater employee wellness.
But such perks are just the first step.
In a blog post on Tuesday, corporate research firm PSFK laid out three devices that foster an even healthier, more creative office culture.
1. Personal climate trackers
Ditch blankets and jackets in the summer, when the office air conditioning blasts arctic gusts into your cubicle. Throw away the dusty desktop fan, with its soporific white-noise hum that drives your desk mate crazy. Wearable personal climate devices can help regulate temperature and humidity in an office space.
Personalized heating and cooling system reduces office energy costs, and avoids those inevitable hot or cold spots in the office. This also ensures that meeting rooms are always a comfortable temperature for everyone, and provides an additional ease to move about the office.
One tool is CliMate, a weather and temperature tracker that clips onto a shirt or bag, or sit on a little stand. The device, released last year, senses humidity, UV exposure and temperature and feeds the information live to a smartphone. Users can then adjust the temperature or open a window in the space. CliMate sells for $55 on Amazon.
"Excessive humidity, UV and temperature (HUT) damage goes way beyond the skin-deep," the device's creators wrote last year on Kickstarter, where they successfully raised money to manufacture CliMate. "It negatively affects your health through illness and allergies, your mood and often times even your work performance and personal life."
2. Wellness reminders
Wellness trackers like the FitBit or Apple Watch can help people manage their physical activity and work toward fitness goals. But if you spend all day sitting at a desk, it can be difficult to remember to get up and take a stroll -- so you might need a helpful prompt.
PSFK suggests a "wellness reminder," such as a clip that hooks onto your chair and vibrates every 30 minutes, letting you know it's time to go for a walk. The theoretical device would sync with an app to help the user track overall fitness.
Traditional office spaces demand long periods of physical inactivity and can dull worker creativity and emotional well-being. To mitigate these issues, companies should disrupt the sedentary desk-work routine and infuse mobile activity. An inconspicuous desktop addition would help employees to get up, destress and stimulate their minds to maximize positive thinking and output.
Another option is a desk that reminds the owner to get up. That's where Stir, a Los Angeles-based standing desk startup, comes in. About 70 percent of people with height-adjustable desks never leave the sitting position, according to a survey of dozens of companies with height-adjustable desks, conducted by Stir. To address that, the company designed a desk that subtly rises up and down to alert the user when it's time to stand. The desk comes equipped with app-compatible software to helps set and monitor fitness goals. The one downside is that it sells for upward of $3,000, though there are cheaper models out there.
3. A footstool
Seems simple, right? Little ergonomic fixes can make huge differences.
Here's PSFK's take:
Hybrid desks and ergonomic seating are important features of an health-oriented work environment. Without the adaptability of a space that encourages employees to stand throughout the day, it becomes routine for employees to stay in their chair for hours at a time. This footstool offers easy-to-implement design solutions for encouraging better habits, such as improved posture and regular movement.
A wide variety of under-the-desk footstools exist. Here's a look at the simple ergonomics behind them: