Wellbeing is defined as the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy. But we all know there's more to it than that. It's about liking
what you do each day, achieving your goals, having supportive relationships, feeling safe, being healthy, and having energy. At
Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, we advocate for work-life balance and integrate wellness in the workplace.
Our ongoing promotion of health and wellness includes a variety of personal enrichment classes in our office, online, and in the community. Why do we do this? Because we are proponents of wellness, and we want to improve engagement, health outcomes, and work-life balance for our employees.
In the United States, we spend an average of 90 percent of our time indoors, which has led to numerous research inquiries and much evidence suggesting that our patterns keeping us inside can negatively affect our health. Being cooped up inside has been linked to everything from nature deficit disorder to increased exposure to indoor air pollutants.
While we tackle some of these health implications through better design of the built environment using WELL Building Standard principles – providing views and daylight, creating open spaces, furnishing outdoor and indoor places to work, using materials that promote indoor air quality, and implementing active design principles – we also integrate a wellness program meant to provide resources that promote wellbeing and a healthy work culture.
Our goal is to provide a good quality of life for everyone at D/P/S, and to accomplish that, we believe it's essential to create a workplace of respect with open communication, access to good information about wellness, autonomy and control over personal choices, and flexibility.
Fairuza and Mona vying for most steps during D/P/S's Fitbit Challenge. The challenge inspired people to take walking breaks together, and one group even started walking to work once a week.
D/P/S's Fitbit Challenge was designed to be inclusive and provide people with basic information about their movement throughout the day. The American Heart Association recommends hitting 10,000 steps a day - the equivalent of about five miles - to reduce the risk of heart disease. Our challenge set a goal of 5,000 steps a day to get people started.
Everyone who decided to participate was challenged to walk at least 5,000 steps a day, motivating some people to take walking breaks or walking meetings. The challenge even inspired one group to ditch their cars once a week and start walking to work (a seven mile route along a nearby walking/biking trail).
"This challenge has brought a lot of change for me here at D/P/S," said Mona, an administrative assistant and participant in the Fitbit Challenge. "Before the challenge I went for walks by myself, and now we have a nice group that walks together. It has developed into nice friendships and getting to know the people I'm working with."
In addition to helping people establish new friendships and embark on unexpected activities, the Fitbit Challenge has also helped people feel better physically. People have reported a surge in energy and renewed motivation to continue working towards activity goals.
In total, 108 people participated and achieved an average of 9,460 steps per day. Combined, that's 25,464 miles, more than enough to walk Earth's circumference!
One of our most popular wellness programs is yoga. Julie Kelly-Smith, an interior designer, offers weekly yoga classes in our Albuquerque office, converting our largest conference room into studio space. In nice spring, summer, and fall weather, she teaches outside under the cottonwood trees – converting our picnic and barbecue deck into a yogi paradise.
Julie Kelly-Smith on teaching yoga at D/P/S:
"One of the best things about yoga is taking the time to refocus the mind for the students, and the teacher. At D/P/S, our job day-to-day can take us to a variety of places – car trips to project meetings and jobsite visits, standing for long periods, or being sedentary behind a computer. Having the ability to end the day with fluid movement in a challenging yoga class is a beautiful way to re-oxygenate the blood.
"During the day my mind races with deadlines or project constraints, and at the end of the day, I need to take a few breaths and change my focus to teach yoga to my coworkers. Somedays this shift is an easy task, other days it can be hard. I know that when we all step on our mats I am here to guide my coworkers though a class that will safely challenge them, improve their balance and flexibility, and strengthen them. Sometimes that challenge is just to take savasana, a resting pose.
"Teaching yoga at D/P/S has been a wonderful experience. I started teaching here within two months of getting hired as an interior designer. It has been a great way to meet coworkers from every practice area. I have been at D/P/S for over four years now and I have really enjoyed ending the work day leading others through a yoga class. There have been days where I drive back from a jobsite across town just so I can teach the yogis. I think we all benefit from these classes. Especially on the days when something heavy is on my mind, it is immediately released when I step in the room."
Access to trails and amenities is also important in supporting an active, healthy, and flexible workplace. Our Albuquerque office is located in Jefferson Business Center with walking and biking trails, restaurants, and picnic tables.
Our Amarillo and Phoenix offices are in highly walkable downtown areas. The Rock Island Rail Trail in Amarillo and numerous trails throughout the Phoenix metro make it easy to bike to work, plus some of our office buildings offer free classes with weight and cardio equipment.
Situated between three mountain ranges, our Las Cruces office is near hiking trails, some of which lead to caves and hot spring that encourage people to get out and hike.
We are lucky to live among amazingly beautiful natural places in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Amarillo, and Phoenix.
In addition, we've been able to organize a variety of other wellness programs: a softball team, biometric screenings, heart health classes, flu shots, cardio and weight training, nutrition courses, cooking classes, and work/life balance classes. Additionally, we offer gym discounts and fitness reimbursements. These programs aim to strengthen camaraderie at work, increase employee's awareness about their personal health, and give people resources and tools to make decisions about their work environment and wellbeing.
We strongly believe in supporting a fun and rewarding work experience. From making our environments healthier through sustainable design to promoting a positive and fulfilling office culture, our workplace is more than just a place to work. D/P/S is a place to learn, to have fun, to contribute, and to live well.