Nook Wellness Pods Adapt To Meet The Changing Needs Of The Workplace

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Elise Shapiro
Elise Shapiro
Elise Shapiro is a contributing editor. Little did she know that her first job, in the facilities department at Ralston Purina, while obtaining her M. Arch at Washington University, in St. Louis would foreshadow where her career would lead. She has always been a strong advocate for providing the best possible spaces for people to work – where aesthetics meet function and drive business success.

While future workspaces will be a place for coming together, Nook Wellness Pods provide a spot with privacy and enclosure to meet or take a call.

Nook pods create spaces within spaces.

As we re-think the places and spaces where we work, how we will design them has become one of the hottest topics of deliberation in the workplace information-sphere. The pivot to working from anywhere has motivated the contract furniture industry to be not only innovative in their designs, but thoughtful about how people will exist in the next work environment. We recently connected with our friends at Nook to learn about their approach to supporting offices that are not only geared to productivity, but also to wellness.

Founded on the premise that the open office, the most prevalent mode of workplace design may not have met the goal of creating spaces for collaboration and creativity that would work for everybody. While extroverts could conceivably thrive in that environment, for many it was an atmosphere that could be stressful and distracting for others.

Nook was created in 2016 as, in the words of Nook designer, David O’Coimin, “a finely tuned withdrawal space where people can recharge, reflect calmly and reconnect with each other. It creates a sense of protection and shelter but without isolating the occupant. We don’t need to be fully enclosed – we just need enough privacy to not feel so much in the spotlight.”

Nook offers the opportunity to find just the right spot to get work done.

Tell us the story behind the Nook product line.

Nook Wellness Pods are a line of freestanding privacy spaces that can be configured for the flexibility and adaptability required to meet the changing needs of the workplace. While future workplaces will be a place for coming together, there is a need to provide a spot with privacy and enclosure to meet or take a call.

Our mission is to address challenges, improve life and increase happiness. We want to be a catalyst for a more inclusive workspace. And we want to lead by example.

Nooks are user hackable, modular and agile to suit the extreme requirements of any workplace, and in that way bring benefit for everyone. ‘Design for the Extreme Benefits the Mean’ has always been at the core of what we do – for this reason, we have certified Nooks as a Certified Autism Resource with the IBCCES.

Ultimately, we would like our company to support a network of connected, motivated, passionate people to live great lives, impacting people, communities, and the planet in positive ways. 

Tell us about the range of Nook products available.

NOOK HUDDLE PODSComplimenting meeting rooms with flexible huddle solutions allows more smaller powerful get-togethers to take place. Nook Huddle pods take people out of the spotlight so they can re-set themselves without feeling self-conscious. They are remarkably quiet inside, without cutting a person off from the environment, and they allow user personalization of the interior environment, a vital tool for helping neurodiverse brains settle.

NOOK SOLO BOOTHSingle person booth for focus work, phone & video calls. Nook Solo Booths quickly adds personal, quiet, clean space to any environment. Available as a closed or partially open booth, Nook Solo adds quiet shelter for focus work, phone calls or individual video conferencing. Designed as a standalone pod, or in combination with other Nooks. Easily moved, Nook Solo can help to activate challenging space and maximize workspace density.

Tuned for sufficient privacy to block out distraction, while maintaining audibility of emergency announcements and workspace vibe. Exceptionally durable, sustainable and cleanable materials and form ensure longevity and hygiene at a time when its most critical.

SENSORY NOOK – While the Nook is an emotionally intelligent workspace for one to one & group working, Sensory enhancements can take it a step further. These create an encapsulated environment to positively influence mood, reduce challenging behavior & lower anxiety levels.

This is a highly inclusive adaptable space particularly effective for neurodiversity including Autism, ADHD & Dyslexia. It provides a calming refuge for social & emotional challenges. Sensory Nook is a practical way to reduce exclusion in the workspace, classroom and in public.

Sensory Nook helps neurodiverse people cope with challenging environments and reduce anxiety.

What about creating spaces that support employee health, wellness, and wellbeing?

As more research on the importance of neurodiversity considerations in planning and design, the Nook pod gives designers the ability to provide spaces that meet the following criteria:

  • Tackle social distancing & density issues
  • Lower stress levels & improve wellbeing
  • Promote Neuroinclusivity
  • Increase small meeting volume
  • Add space flexibility
  • Cultivate engagement
  • Improve productivity

Can you give an example of how Nook pods will help readers design and implement great workplace solutions?

The environments we are helping evolve include workplace, learning space, the high street, shopping malls, events, and the home. Tomorrow’s creative environments desperately need more multifunctional and agile furniture solutions to respond to modern needs. The pandemic has accelerated this requirement, showing that fixed and rigid processes can quickly become unworkable.

Nook is no longer one product but now an expanding range of award winning personal and social spaces built to complement each other and to help make an environment more inclusive, engaging, and agile. Nook is built to move and to grow and change over time. True sustainability comes not just from sourcing responsibly and designing for end-of-life recycling, which we do, but importantly through durability for long life and modularity to change within that time.

The flexibility of Nook pod’s design options allows the designer to create spaces that acknowledge the sensitivities of many kinds of workers.

How do Nook pods address the issues around providing spaces that support Neurodiversity?

The prevalent ‘one-size-fits-all’ nature of much of today’s open-plan workspace is unsuited to many employees – or potential employees. Everybody is to some extent differently abled – ways of thinking and operating differ from one person to the next. This neurodiversity cannot be shoehorned into one type of workspace. Indeed, to do so is a recipe for problems which can result in higher-levels of absenteeism and burn-out.

If businesses are determined to make a change and to do things differently than it is essential that practical consideration is given to supporting and nurturing neurodiverse employees. Whilst great strides have been taken in recent years to understand neurodiverse behaviors, many facets of everyday life still fall behind. The workplace is one such example. Some progress has been made in terms of adapting space for physical disabilities, but it is less apparent where neurodiversity is concerned. And we understand why – it is not always as easy and obvious to know what to do.

Different types of brains (e.g., introvert vs extrovert, neurodiverse, autistic), different types of tasks (e.g., programming vs brainstorming), and different times of day (mid-morning vs immediately after lunch vs just before home time) form a three-dimensional matrix of conditions, and therefore needs, from a workspace. In practical terms, this does not mean a total re-design.

There are three top considerations when creating a workspace suited to neurodiverse individuals, and relatively simple solutions exist for each:

Noise levels

Noise is the number one issue because it permeates and impacts concentration, anxiety-levels, and general wellbeing. Creating an environment that enables individuals to escape from noise is key. This might be done with acoustic wall panels, ceiling panels and room dividers which can not only be used to make sound reverb less in a space, but also to sub-divide areas with differing functions and noise levels (e.g., finance team vs sales team / programmers vs dining area).

Interestingly, an environment that is too quiet can also be an issue for many, preventing them from speaking up, making calls, or expressing themselves fully. White noise can be used to create a base comfortable noise level into which people feel more open to be themselves.


Light is proven to have a powerful influence on mood, energy levels and the ability to process information.

Light can be used zonally, creating pockets of space that are comfortable to individuals. Different colors create different moods and can help provide sensory support for autism, dyslexia and visual impairment.

Personal space

It is important to enable employees to regulate their own personal space without making them feel like they are in the spotlight for doing so. Creating withdrawal spaces is key – discrete areas that provide separation without totally isolating users from the workspace. Placing these close to work desks enables people to hop casually into the space for respite or for a more intimate conversation.

These are changes that can benefit all workers. In fact, any business failing to adapt in a post-pandemic world may quickly find themselves struggling to retain or attract top talent. Many people are experiencing new ways of working for the first time. As the lockdown period extends, so these new working practices become second nature. Going back to the open-plan office routines of old will rapidly lose its appeal.

Life right now feels so different to before. No commuting, more time for yourself, more time for family, an appreciation of the freedoms that fresh air and space provide. There is a need for greater self-discipline and a requirement to get creative to overcome hurdles. New technology is being embraced so that teams can stay connected. Sounds great, right? And it is. There is much to take forward. But there are flip-sides too; the sense of cabin-fever, the feeling of isolation, the distractions of the household, the reliance on your own less-than-perfect technology, to say nothing of the back-breaking kitchen chair.

So, in short, people are proving that they can be productive outside the office and are enjoying some of the work/life balance advantages that this can bring. But – and it is a big but – there is still a strong and basic need for human interaction and socialization. To satisfy employees and to attract the best prospects businesses will need to think hard about how they occupy space.

In considering the needs of the neurodiverse, businesses demonstrate responsibility towards individuals. And by thinking about individuals, companies start to perform better as a whole. Many of the workspace changes suggested for neurodiverse individuals focus on wellbeing, on delivering havens of calm and the opportunity to take a break from the hubbub without isolating completely from colleagues. These priorities are now also high on the wish-list of every employee – priorities formulated as they experience new ways of working.

What is the availability of Nook pods?

Nooks are stocked and or details on our entire line, readers can get all specification information needed to create vibrant, flexible workplace solutions. Link to our website resources here.

What about other products and pricing?

For inquiries, please contact us, find your representative or our offices here.

Alternatively, readers can design their own Nook and see how it would look in their own space by using our configurator with an easy-to-use AR function here!

We love seeing pictures of the unexpected places Nooks turn up and would invite your readers to post their pics on social including #NookPod in their post.

We are joining with ASID for the Spring Breakout Roadshow, The first ever moving commercial interiors caravan making stops in the following locations:

  • Dallas – May 11
  • Atlanta – May 14
  • Charlotte – May 17
  • Baltimore – May 19
  • Philadelphia – May 21
  • Pittsburgh – May 24
  • Columbus – May 26
  • Chicago – June 2

We will also be at NeoCon, in Chicago, October 2021 and EDSpaces, in Pittsburgh, November 2021.

Connect with Nook:

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