We wanted to develop a new kind of experience that addressed the widespread effects of stress among employees.
We designed, built, and launched Feels, an immersive, guided meditation room, that guides newcomers in mindfulness, supports independent meditation, and offers an environment for quick rest.
Our initial findings have revealed a positive correlation between using Feels and an improved quality of productivity, a calmer state of mind, and a deeper level of focus.
At Beyond, we understand that supporting our people isn’t just the right thing to do: It has a real business impact. Recent research suggests that 73% of employees exhibit psychological symptoms of stress, and 52% of employees admit to calling in sick due to stress. As a design company, we wanted to support wellness from health and aesthetic perspectives. We knew that mindfulness has a proven effect on reducing stress, so we decided to construct an experience that integrated spatial and digital work. The idea, Feels, would allow employees to retreat from their normal tasks and normal environment, recenter, and — we hoped — reduce their stress.
Working with a 10-year practitioner in guided meditation, we assembled a team of designers and developers to turn attention toward an unused space in our office (an old vault that stored furs many decades ago), and build an immersive design experience. The product plan focused on both physical and digital elements, and mapped each step in the digital program to the physical room. How people reported their stress level at the beginning of the meditation changed the lighting in the room, and ambient noises changed based on the meditation path chosen. By devoting the same design intention to the construction of the room as we always have to our digital products, we delivered a calming, holistic experience for our employees.
Because Feels is voluntary, it remains a more passive element in the workplace, but we’ve already incorporated new elements, like a rest mode, based on feedback. We’re working now to better quantify stress levels and map them against the testing of new experiences, and have a future state planned for integrating Feels with wearables and VR devices. Our initial quantitative and qualitative results have revealed an improved quality of productivity, a calmer state of mind, and a deeper level of focus. For us, that’s a success, and we’re excited to continue developing, iterating, and expanding this experience to better serve employees everywhere.