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Can Managing Acoustic Stimuli in the Workplace Help Reduce Burnout?

Burnout is a significant issue affecting today’s workforce, costing an estimated $125-190 billion per year in healthcare spending in the U.S. alone. Much of the current discussion around this issue has focused on individual factors and job characteristics. Can workplace design play a role in addressing the problem?

With more and more workplaces moving toward open office design there is also more opportunity for distraction.  Limiting acoustical disruptions by implementing passive workplace interventions (such as sound masking and designating quiet workspaces) gives employees the agency to manage these stimuli.  Employers can thereby harness the power of design to prevent stress, and help their employees stay focused, engaged and productive throughout the workday.

Presented by: Dr. Whitney Austin Gray and Lida Lewis

Presenter Bio:

At Delos, Dr. Whitney Austin Gray leads research and the development of innovative strategies that seek to improve human health and well-being through building design. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Georgetown University. Dr. Gray received her PhD from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and was the first public health professional to become LEED AP.

Lida Lewis is an architect by training and interior architect in practice with a focus on sustainability and its impact on people.  She utilizes 15+ years of design and sustainability expertise to spearhead thought leadership on incorporating the best of public health research into tangible design strategies. Currently serving on the USGBC-NCR Board and on the WELL Mind Concept advisory, she was invited to review the WELL Community Standard and WELL v2 and regularly serves as an SME for Health and Wellbeing.  A firm believer that the design of space has a profound impact on wellbeing, she leverages design to elevate the occupant experience.

Organized by: AIA|DC Design + Wellbeing Committee

Co-sponsored by: International Academy for Design and Health


At the completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe comprehensively the definition of burnout;
  • Explain the cost of burnout on employee engagement and general mental health; 
  • Explain and identify several organizational qualities that play a role in burnout; and
  • Describe multiple physical and non-physical solutions to improve the quality of space to mitigate the effects of burnout from acoustic disturbances.