There is a symbol for the most significant workplace design trend in recent memory, and its near pervasiveness is a good indicator of the depth of change seen at the office since the turn of the millennium. The symbol is the ping-pong table, and many readers of this article will likely be within a good serve’s distance of one right now.
Conveniently, these objects are a powerful visual metaphor for the trend they represent: Work-life balance. Ah, work-life balance. Everyone wants to make sure they improve it, but it remains elusive as the back-and-forth of what is fun and what is productive bounces back and forth in favorability. The ping-pong table is a great recreational tool, but it’s also often the place where teams get enough distance from a work challenge that they spontaneously find a solution.
Therein lies the work-life balance. The addition of lighthearted, personal and comfortable options in the office is a productivity enhancement. And now there are metrics to prove it. New research, and human-centric analytics like the WELL Building Standard, are providing guidelines by which we can rate how well work is balancing with life in any given office.