News Feed Item

Seeking Mindfulness: Steelcase Study Reveals How to Help Employees Find Focus at Work

New research shows 41 percent of workers report not being able to concentrate easily, while the average person loses 86 minutes per day due to distractions

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Steelcase today released findings from its workplace research on how the physical environment can support or hinder mindfulness, along with five other dimensions of wellbeing. The researchers found that the physical environment offers behavioral cues, that can promote -- or hinder -- employee's physical, cognitive and emotional states and long-term health.

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click: http://www.multivu.com/mnr/7088951-steelcase-study-employee-focus-wellbeing-mindfulness-research 

A recent 14-country Steelcase/Ipsos study conducted as part of its wellbeing research revealed the growing lack of mindfulness in the workplace. Only 59 percent of employees reported their environment enabled them to feel relaxed and calm, while only 58 percent reported being able to work in teams without being interrupted or disturbed. Nearly half of all workers surveyed reported not having adequate spaces that support mindfulness and focus.  Ongoing Steelcase research also found that workers in North America lose 86 minutes per day due to a variety of distractions in the workplace.

"Mindfulness means balancing the intense pace of life with being fully present in the moment," said Donna Flynn, director of Workspaces Futures at Steelcase. "With the proliferation of technology and growth of distributed work across time and space, workers are facing unprecedented distractions combined with pressures to be always on, leaving them stressed, tired, and overwhelmed. Healthy and mindful employees are a competitive advantage in today's business world, but to achieve it workers need supportive environments that give them the emotional capacity to interpret and experience events in a way that leads to productive, positive actions."

The Steelcase researchers identified and developed design concepts that companies can incorporate into their workplace to help encourage  mindfulness by enhancing employees' ability to concentrate and make thoughtful choices amid distractions and disturbances.

Steelcase key ideas when designing for mindfulness include:

  • Offer spaces where people can seek solitude and respite, or connect with others without distractions or interference.
  • Design areas that allow workers to control the amount of sensory stimulation they are exposed to and enable them to amp it up or down.
  • Create spaces that help people stay focused as they interact with others one-on-one and eye-to-eye.
  • Offer places that are calming, through the materials, textures, colors, lighting and views.

"Given the mental fatigue that comes with high cognitive load, workers need physical spaces that help them manage the cognitive load and be fully present in the moment," says Beatriz Arantes, senior researcher and environmental psychologist with Steelcase Workspace Futures. "The space can give workers a reason to want to be present. When we ask people to envision a state of wellbeing, they talk about spas, vacation, yoga or other ways to escape from everyday life. Yet people spend 36 percent of their time working – more than any other activity. We want to help people reconnect with what makes their work fulfilling."

"To foster mindfulness, and wellbeing, organizations need to provide a diversity of work settings employees can choose from based on the work they have to do. When employees have choices, they have a sense of control that helps them feel more empowered and less stressed."

Six Dimensions of Wellbeing

Mindfulness is one of six key dimensions Steelcase researchers identified in their exploration of the physical, emotional and cognitive aspects of worker wellbeing. These six dimensions of wellbeing can be impacted by the design of the physical environment. The dimensions include:

  • Mindfulness
  • Optimism
  • Vitality
  • Belonging
  • Authenticity
  • Meaning

"Creative work is all about making connections, being open to new ideas, taking risks and experimenting. These behaviors are impossible in a stressed state of mind. For creative work to thrive, the workplace needs to be a supportive and positive environment," noted Flynn.

Read more about the other elements impacting wellbeing at work here.

About Steelcase Research:
The Steelcase research team conducts design research, based in the social sciences that includes observation and other anthropological methods. This study is a meta-analysis of 3 years of Steelcase global primary research combined with external studies.

The Steelcase/Ipsos survey was conducted online within the United States, Canada, Mexico, India, China United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Poland, Russia, Turkey and Germany by Ipsos on behalf of Steelcase from January and April 2014 among 10,527 adults ages 18 and older working for companies with more than 100 employees. Samples are representative of the employees population based on their age, gender and occupation. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Katie Hasse at [email protected].

Creating areas where people can connect with others without distractions or interference is key to designing spaces for mindfulness.


An immersive shared space with digital and analog tools can support concentrated work for small groups and help with content sharing and idea generation


Small private spaces can provide respite, focus and rejuvenation for workers. Enclaves with telepresence support one-on-one problem solving without distractions.


Private project rooms equipped with analogue and digital technology support project teams with small group collaboration, content sharing and idea generation fostering mindfulness in the workplace.


To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click: http://www.multivu.com/mnr/7088951-steelcase-study-employee-focus-wellbeing-mindfulness-research

SOURCE Steelcase

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Traditional on-premises data centers have long been the domain of modern data platforms like Apache Hadoop, meaning companies who build their business on public cloud were challenged to run Big Data processing and analytics at scale. But recent advancements in Hadoop performance, security, and most importantly cloud-native integrations, are giving organizations the ability to truly gain value from all their data. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, David Tishgart, Director of Product Marketing ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that StarNet Communications will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. StarNet Communications’ FastX is the industry first cloud-based remote X Windows emulator. Using standard Web browsers (FireFox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) users from around the world gain highly secure access to applications and data hosted on Linux-based servers in a central data center. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cemware will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Use MATLAB functions by just visiting website mathfreeon.com. MATLAB compatible, freely usable, online platform services. As of October 2016, 80,000 users from 180 countries are enjoying our platform service.
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, the leading provider of modern development tools and best practices for Continuous Integration on OpenVMS, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware products and development tools that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
Effectively SMBs and government programs must address compounded regulatory compliance requirements. The most recent are Controlled Unclassified Information and the EU’s GDPR have Board Level implications. Managing sensitive data protection will likely result in acquisition criteria, demonstration requests and new requirements. Developers, as part of the pre-planning process and the associated supply chain, could benefit from updating their code libraries and design by incorporating changes.
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Isomorphic Software will exhibit at DevOps Summit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Isomorphic Software provides the SmartClient HTML5/AJAX platform, the most advanced technology for building rich, cutting-edge enterprise web applications for desktop and mobile. SmartClient combines the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simp...
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Embotics, the cloud automation company, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Embotics is the cloud automation company for IT organizations and service providers that need to improve provisioning or enable self-service capabilities. With a relentless focus on delivering a premier user experience and unmatched customer support, Embotics is the fas...
DevOps is speeding towards the IT world like a freight train and the hype around it is deafening. There is no reason to be afraid of this change as it is the natural reaction to the agile movement that revolutionized development just a few years ago. By definition, DevOps is the natural alignment of IT performance to business profitability. The relevance of this has yet to be quantified but it has been suggested that the route to the CEO’s chair will come from the IT leaders that successfully ma...
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...