Research by Nguyen, Ryan, and Deci indicates that building places for solitude into a building/area is a good idea. The investigators report that their work “showed that solitude generally has a deactivation effect on people’s affective [emotional] experiences, decreasing both positive and negative high-arousal affects [moods]. . . . we found that the deactivation effect occurred when people were alone, but not when they were with another person. . . . this deactivation effect did not depend on whether or not the person was engaged in an activity such as reading when alone. . . . we found that solitude could lead to relaxation and reduced stress when individuals actively chose to be alone.” Solitude was defined “as being alone for a period of time with no access to devices, personal interactions, external stimuli, or activities.” When they arrived at the study site, “Participants were . . . randomly assigned to one of two conditions: one condition in which they were instructed to sit alone in a comfortable chair, away from their electronic devices. . . and one in which they were instructed to engage in a social interaction with a research assistant.”
Thuy-vy Nguyen, Richard Ryan, and Edward Deci. “Solitude as an Approach to Affective Self-Regulation.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, in press.