Most adults are associated in some way to a worksite. Thus, the work environment contains opportunities to promote health, well-being, and collaboration while also contributing to environmental, social, and economic sustainability. A key opportunity lies in the way buildings, offices, and interstitial spaces are designed. Design elements, including the location of stairs, type of desk, and centrally located printers, not only promote more physical activity and less sedentary behavior among employees, but may also improve environmental outcomes and reduce waste. Other design elements such as hallways, walkways, or meeting spaces can contribute to increased interaction and collaboration among employees.
In 2008, the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis began a new program in public health and the number of faculty and staff grew substantially almost overnight. Talks soon began about expanding the current infrastructure to accomodate this new growth. After several years of fundraising and gathering input from faculty, staff and students, construction on Hillman Hall began. The design concept encompassed 105,000 square feet where research, teaching, student, faculty, social and meeting spaces could coexist.Two professors at the Brown School, Amy Eyler and Aaron Hipp, realized that the development of this building presented an immense opportunity to evaluate how changes to design elements in a worksite influence physical activity and sedentary behavior, collaboration and team science, and sustainability practices. After many months of design and planning, the Brown School Expansion Evaluation Project (BEEP) was born.
BEEP consisted of three main goals:
• Assess physical activity and sedentary behavior among Brown School (intervention site) and Same Fox School of Design and Visual Arts (control site) staff and faculty before and after the completion of the Brown School expansion.
• Assess collaborative behavior and team science among faculty and staff before and after the completion of the Brown School expansion.
• Assess school sustainability efforts before and after the completion of the Brown School expansion.
PURPOSE OF THIS TOOLKIT
This toolkit aims to serve as a guidebook for groups interested in evaluating how current or new buildings can influence physical movement, collaboration, and sustainability. The toolkit describes eight methods used in the BEEP study. Within each section we describe the advantages and disadvantages to the method, and the main activities involved in planning, recruitment, implementation and analysis. We also describe budgetary items to consider, personnel
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