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environment By Julie Spiering Wellness at Work: Healthful Interiors Nourish the Well-Being of Employees and the Organizations They Serve Julie Spiering, CID, LEED, is the director of interior design and a principal at DSGW Architects. This overlooked indoor environment is the next frontier in design for wellness. 54 Duluthian november.december 2016 W e think of the “environment” as a vast wilderness or pristine moun- tain setting. But we spend much of our lives indoors – especially at work. Even as Americans are seeking healthier diets and exercise, millions of us still work in offices with poor indoor air quality, minimal daylight and little motivation to leave one’s desk. This overlooked indoor environment is the next frontier in design for wellness. In Duluth, we live on the edge of some of the most beautiful and complex ecosys- tems in the country. Just as the ecological richness and balance of forests and wet- lands matter for their long-term sustainability, healthful interiors are essential to sustain us at work. Research suggests that healthy employees are up to three times more productive than those who are unwell or often tired and immobile at work. DSGW has been based in Duluth for over 50 years. For decades, we have been leaders in interior architecture – settings where environmental quality is essential for physical and psychological well-being. Today, high-quality interior environ- ments lie at the core of all the work we do – from office spaces to health-care and government buildings. The Lac Vieux Desert Health Center is more than a clinic; it is a community center – a place where people can connect to celebrate the history and culture of the community. Here are a few pathways to wellness from our practice at DSGW: Activity and Social Interaction No matter how much time employees spend staring into computer screens, they still need to be around other people. And they need to leave their desks. Well- ness in the workplace starts with incentives to be more active, with options such as adjustable sit/stand desks that can be raised to a standing position for typing or taking part in a conference call.