Ethonomics: Human-centered & Biophillic Design

As mentioned in the January article, our partner Teknion released a paper called Ethonomics: Designing for the Principles of the Modern Workplace in 2015. As a leading international designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative workplace interiors, the company explored how design can impact employee happiness and the question—What does well-being and productivity mean to today’s workforce?

As part of the Ethonomics formula for designing workplace happiness, significant attention is given to the topics of human-centered and biophilic design, the importance of creating rich sensory experiences and connections to the outdoors.

Human-centered design is about digging deeper into your understanding of who you are designing for, designing with a true empathy for the end users to create interiors that reflect social and cultural transformations. According to the Ethonomics paper, “The character of our surroundings provokes a visceral and an emotional response—whether from specific color combinations, the juxtaposition of materials or a mix of textures.” Designing interiors that connect with people more deeply on a sensorial level result in more meaningful and engaging spaces. Creating this more meaningful sensorial experience can be achieved through exploring more material applications. The paper suggests considering:

  • Stimulating and creating interest with dualities in textiles and materials
  • Bringing nature indoors with materials
  • Addressing sustainability and wellness concerns with textiles and materials
  • Exploring types of acoustical treatments with textiles
  • Creating deeper connections with the use of color

When it comes to deeper connections and sensorial experiences, human beings crave a relationship with nature. Biophilic design is the practice of building nature into the built environment, bringing the outside in or creating it inside to fulfill our innate need to connect with nature. According to the Ethonomics paper, “As human beings we are highly responsive to multi-sensorial experiences of nature—which are, in fact, profoundly important to human functioning, health and well-being.” It further states, “In order to thrive, people need access to daylight and a pleasant view, while spaces that contain natural elements or provide access to the outdoors can offer cognitive respite, stimulate creativity and improve work performance.”

Creating these deeper connections to nature can impact business in a profound way. Interface, a carpet manufacturer and pioneer in sustainability, helps power Human Spaces – – a website that provides a platform to explore and discuss biophilic design.

If you are interested in learning more Ethonomics and integrating human-centered and biophilic design principles into your workspace, contact 877-676-9346 . You can find information referenced in this article by visiting:—walkthrough-animation

In the summer issue, we will discuss the importance of Balance and Choice. Stay tuned!

Ethonomics: Active Design

In 2015, Teknion released a paper called Ethonomics: Designing for the Principles of the Modern Workplace. As a leading international designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative workplace interiors, the company explored how design can impact employee happiness and the question—What does well-being and productivity mean to today’s workforce?

Ethonomics presents the theory that there may be a formula for designing workplace happiness. This formula includes:

  1. Design for Balance – Offer varied experiences across a floorplate
  2. Design for Choice – Account for changing work modes throughout the day
  3. Active Design – Promote movement
  4. Human-Centered Design – Create a rich sensory experience and connections to the outdoors
  5. Design for Collaboration – Support groups as they scale in: size, formality, tech needs, learning styles

As part of that formula, Active Design focuses on promoting individual movement in the office environment. As a greater topic Active Design is being applied by urban planners to build movement into communities through engaging streetscapes, pedestrian-oriented developments and neighborhood parks. So how can we design office environments with that same mentality?

According to the Ethonomics paper, “The human body is built to move. It follows that the human-centered workplace should provide people with the opportunity for physical activity; with a choice among working postures as well as workspaces. Alert, engaged and healthy workers are most often those who are afforded a stimulating and inspiring work environment that encourages movement—to sit, stand and walk around.”

While the paper shares some of the detriments of sitting, simple providing the option to stand is not the solution. As with most things, moderation and balance is a better approach. The paper offers a few suggestions for how employees can add movement into their daily routine in a variety of ways:

  • Pace while talking on the phone, organizing papers or eating lunch.
  • Stand at a sit/stand desk—or take your laptop over to a high countertop.
  • Walk, rather than gathering around a table, for a meeting.
  • Program your phone to remind you to change position every half an hour.
  • Take a break—stand up, stretch and stroll over to the coffee bar.
  • Walk to work or at least to the bus stop or train platform. Where possible, join co-workers on the volleyball court, take a yoga or Zumba class or simply use your lunch hour to walk to a plaza or stroll through a park.

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Schroeder Solutions worked with Skyline Technologies, the Midwest’s premier provider of information technology and digital marketing consulting services, to create not only a “cool” office space, but an office that was collaborative, active and vibrant. The design solution promotes movement by offering a variety of collaborative spaces with opportunities to sit or stand while meeting in private, semi-private and casual settings. Bean bag toss and Pop-A-Shot games in the lounge encourage physical activity and quick breaks throughout the day.

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If you are interested in learning more Ethonomics and integrating Active Design principles into your workspace, contact: 877-676-9346. You can find information referenced in this article by visiting:

In the spring issue we will discuss Human-Centered and Biophilic Design. Stay tuned!

Don’t Just Sit There, Move!

Too fat at work

Did you know that inactivity is now a bigger killer than obesity? Our desk jobs slowly may be killing us and our work environments could very likely be to blame.

As soon as we sit, enzymes that help break down fat drop 90 percent and calorie burning drops to one per minute. Even if you exercise for the recommended two and half hours every week, that’s still not enough to offset the detrimental effects of sitting all day at the office.

“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting,” explains Dr. David Angus, a leading cancer specialist. Sitting for five hours is equivalent to smoking more than a pack of cigarettes in terms of increased cancer risks, heart disease, muscular problems, diabetes and other serious health conditions.


Research shows that getting up and moving around for one to two minutes every 30 minutes can have a drastic impact on your health. When we stand, we burn more calories and our brain functions differently. Muscles in our legs contract, which increases production of fat-burning enzymes. Standing even can help to boost energy levels, increase creativity and engagement.

Companies should provide employees with optimal resources and work spaces that will contribute to overall health and well-being. Failing to do so can lead to a major loss of employee productivity, serious health effects and a negative ROI. Effective work environments must encourage movement and support employee health and happiness.

To read more about the negative effects of sitting, click here.

How can I move throughout the work day?

  • Invest in a height-adjustable desk or a treadmill workstation
  • Go for a walk at lunch
  • Plan a walking meeting instead of a meeting in the conference room
  • Take the stairs
  • Walk to get a drink of water
  • Talk to your co-worker in person instead of sending an email
  • Run an errand during your lunch break
  • Stretch it out
  • Take a lap around the office
  • Do a mini office workout video
  • Take short, micro breaks every 30 minutes

Always be conscious of your posture while you do sit and keep track of how long you have been sitting. If your job requires you to be at your desk all day, you can invest in an ergonomic chair that fits your body and work style. Just be sure to take small breaks and move whenever you can! Your body will thank you later.

2015 WorkWell Contest and Giveaway Winners


Congratulations to our 2015 WorkWell winners! Please take a look below to read more about our winners and their motivation for entering the contest. It was fascinating to learn about so many companies in Wisconsin who are making great strides in their wellness programs and their interest in adding mobility to the workplace.

Congratulations to our 2015 WorkWell winners! Please take a look below to read more about our winners and their motivation for entering the contest.

Grand Prize: Badger Truck 

Cheryl Klein, Marketing Coordinator for Badger Truck, is beginning to take a close look at every aspect of her company culture, including Badger Truck’s work environment.

“We understand the impact our work environment has on our team is strong and having our employees try ergonomic alternatives to their workstations would be an awesome start to our wellness plan launch,” says Klein. 

Klein struggles with shoulder and back pain because of her posture and computer screen level, so she is eager to add a height-adjustable desk to her workstation in order to relieve this pain. 

Office Before

Office Before

Office After

Office After

Located in Milwaukee, Badger Truck is one of the premier dealerships in the area. From purchasing, financing or servicing a new or pre-owned Ford, Badger Truck Center has a service that is right for you and your vehicle. 

Second Place: EMCS 

Corinne Evans of EMCS wants to promote a strong culture of wellness in her office. With the new treadmill workstation, Evans hopes to encourage more wellness activities and get employees up and moving throughout the work day. 

Evans also believes that the treadmill workstation will allow employees to experience the overall benefits of adding a height-adjustable desk to their office space.

Office Before

Office Before

EMCS is a multi-discipline civil engineering firm with offices in Milwaukee, Wausau and Madison. For over 30 years, EMCS has provided quality planning, design and field services to both the public and private sector. 

Third Place: Superior Diesel 

Melissa Sisel, Accountant at Superior Diesel, says her main motivation for entering the WorkWell contest was to help improve the overall working conditions for employees. 

“Superior Diesel has always put a lot of value on the people, and we recognize that good health leads to happier and more productive employees. Winning the Humanscale QuickStand will give us the opportunity to experience a completely different way of working throughout the day, and hopefully lead to better health,” says Sisel. 

Sisel also has noticed aches and pains due to extended periods of sitting at her desk and reaching for the keyboard and mouse. She believes that the QuickStand ultimately will help to reverse the strain she feels on her neck and shoulders.

Office Before

Office Before

Headquartered in Rhinelander, Superior Diesel, Inc. is a diesel engine distributor and a value-added packager of power units for John Deere and Kohler. 

If you have any questions or would like to receive more information about our contest or our services, please contact Amanda Stein at