Research carried out by Canadian psychologists Colleen Merrifield and James Danckert has shown that feelings of boredom have a more negative impact on people’s health. Boredom has been shown to increase heartbeat and cortisone levels, seen as the leading indicator of stress. This is a factor that reveals a lot about the effects the built environment has on the wellbeing of those who live or work in it and the need to rethink it, with people at the heart of the planning process.
Observations and studies of this type are surfacing at a historic time, when we are witnessing a powerful evolution not just in working modes but also in the concept of the workspace itself. The new professions linked to the digital ecosystem are generating less hierarchical organisational models.
Within this macro-framework which is the expression of increasingly hybrid lifestyles, in which the lines between private and working life become blurred, new situations are emerging, making the office a prime location for experimenting with design. An evolving space which takes on the characteristics of a permeable and dynamic habitat, open to professional sharing and dovetailing with other activities.
Another effect of the widespread fluidity of contemporary lifestyles is the increasing overlap of domestic and work spaces, with homes and their furnishings adapting to serve a dual function as both home and office. Unsurprisingly, many designers, from Tom Dixon to Nendo, are producing office furniture that puts the accent on the increasingly blurred lines between these two environments and responds to the demand for versatile, hard-wearing and functional objects for work but that are also attractive enough to be used as domestic or decorative solutions.