Habits, Active Design & The Compound Effect

Habits, Active Design & The Compound Effect

Wake up, Get ready, Go to work, Work, Eat lunch, Work again, then head home. Repeat.

Habits compounded overtime form the basis for how we move through life.

Each day we all have habits and routines that we preform (from eating, sleeping, working, exercising, meditating, etc.) and as designers, we have the opportunity to make “Little” nudges in our environments that could lead to BIG effects on our daily habits.

Something to worry about is the rise of chronic disease, which is currently one of the leading health epidemics in our society. On average employees spend 8.1 hours a day at work, spending the majority of their time in a sedentary state.



I’m not worried though, because through “Active Design” we can fight this growing problem. What is active design?

Active Design is an evidence based design approach to development that identifies urban planning and architectural solutions to support healthy communities. Promoting an active workplace that challenges the mundane and typical American lifestyle can begin to have an impact on employee health and well-being, thus influencing healthy habits. Ifwe don’t act and these trends continue, 86% of U.S. adults will be overweight or obese by 2030.

As many of you know, Zack Cullinan and myself are working on a project called Studio Fresh. This project aims to re-envision the workplace by flipping the model to an outward-in approach. Just like active design, this model can break the mundane motions of the day by providing an alternative to workplace design while also acting as a reprieve for our employees.

Let’s chat a little bit about The Compound Effect:

The compound effect is the idea of preforming difficult daily disciplines that compounded over time will affect other facets of our lives. Let’s design engaging spaces with opportunities for activity and tap into the energy that comes from expanding our comfort zones and taking on one new daily discipline.

“Your Choices (decisions) + Behavior (action) + Habit (repeated action) + Compound Effect (Time) = Goals.” 

“If you want to improve your life, you must improve your decisions.  I believe the most important element in making good decisions is making conscious decisions. - What stands between you and your goal is your behavior. – We must establish the right habits—those that repeated over time take us in the right direction.  We must look at everything we do consistently and determine if it is a habit that moves us towards or against what we want to achieve. We must create routines or systems of action that become beneficial habits over time.” - Source

As designers, we have the opportunity to shape the environment into spaces that encourage movement, promote and engage social interaction, connection, and collaboration, thus indirectly, positively influencing mental health. As these design continues to evolve with the changing technological culture, it is going to be significantly important for usto be able to identify ways that we can help mitigate unhealthy patterns and habits by providing designed opportunities for active lifestyles.

Let’s get to work!


Two fascinating articles:

Sitting is deadly. Could banning chairs help? https://www.fastcodesign.com/3068098/evidence/sitting-is-deadly-could-banning-chairs-help

Co-working Climbing Gym where you can do pull-ups at your standing desk. https://www.fastcoexist.com/3023162/at-this-coworking-space-in-a-climbing-gym-you-can-do-pull-ups-at-your-standing-desk


Casey Cline