This nugget in a WSJ Health Blog post on wellness programs caught my eye:

Programs to help workers stop smoking or lose weight aren’t likely to produce lasting results unless there are broader changes to the work environment– such as an end to the plate of muffins at meetings and remodeled, more appealing stairwells.

More appealing stairwells. I love that.

I’ve been in very few stairwells at hospitals (or anywhere for that matter) that I would consider “appealing.” It’s one of those “throw away” design elements.

I’m not going to argue that beautiful stairwells are going to make the workforce healthy, though as part of an entire wellness campaign (like getting rid of the muffins at meetings) it would contribute.

Maybe use the stairwells as a gallery to display art? Or a hidden place to give out coffee gift cards to those who pass by? Or make a piano?

This is my favorite kind of design–that “it’s right in front me, why didn’t I think of that?” element.

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