“Workplace wellbeing” is more than a business catchphrase – it’s an opportunity to impact real, positive change in the work experience.
The potential for workplace design to influence wellbeing is evident: Workplace Insight cites a survey in which “95 percent of office workers said their physical work environment is important for their wellbeing and mental health…half believe their current working environment does not have a positive effect on their mental health, wellbeing, mood and productivity.”
Read our five design ideas for bringing wellbeing to the workplace:
1. Embrace solo spaces.
To support cognitive & emotional wellbeing, carve out spaces for personal focus & rejuvenation. Today’s workers switch back & forth between work modes according to the challenge at hand – and quiet, private settings are perfect for a moment of respite or for deep concentration.
In a roundup of ideal office zones, Biz Journals lists a “home base – quiet area for concentrated, focused working” and “refuge area – for confidential conversations.” These separate spaces to escape are particularly important in the open office.
2. Let the light in.
On the blog here, we share how natural light in the office brightens our mood & increases energy levels. Designate workspaces near skylights or windows to allow for ample natural light. Another great option: create a welcoming outdoor office extension – turn a terrace, rooftop or patio into an open-air retreat.
Office Snapshots highlights CH Robinson’s Chicago offices - the building is designed around a central atrium with a skylight and features open corridors and glass throughout, allowing for the space to be filled with natural light and outdoor views.
3. Mix it up.
The adaptable Lagunitas Lounge System supports creativity with comfort, allowing for a range of postures & positions, in this modern office lounge.
One of the keys to employee wellbeing is offering flexibility & choice. Different types of tasks require different workspaces, and the freedom to choose how, where & when to work is paramount. We explore the importance of movement on the blog here.
Work Design Magazine features a pre-war art deco hotel transformed into a spacious office – complete with private meeting areas, phone booths, larger conference rooms, a kitchen that doubles as a meeting space and communal environments – employees and clients alike can move throughout the space freely.
4. Cultivate community.
The modular Sistema Lounge System brings seating with soul to social office settings - accompanied by the Potrero415 Light table, which is designed for more informal, communal experiences in the office.
People need real places to gather other than a conference room in the office – places where connections and friendships can form. Designate spaces for groups, team bonding activities and spontaneous conversations. Having fun & establishing camaraderie in the office can create a supportive, positive atmosphere.
Interior Design Magazine shares the new McDonald’s Chicago HQ – a collaboration with IA Interior Architects & Studio O+A: “areas around the M.C. Escher–inspired terrazzo staircase that staggers up the four-story central atrium are ground zero for impromptu hangouts and on-the-fly ideating.” The impact is clear: “just eight months-post move-in, recruitment is already up 22 percent.”
5. Make time to recline.
The Montara650 Rocker, here alongside the Sistema Lounge System, brings a sense of comfort, wellbeing and warmth to the office. Research shows that the unique motion of rocking helps to build social connections, in addition to promoting relaxation.
Relaxed postures can still support productivity. Our blog here shares why sitting up straight isn’t always the best thing, according to ergonomics researchers. Consider the variety of postures today’s workers are using – sit, stand, rock, lean, recline and more.
Speaking of which, our newest Insights article shares how rocking can satisfy a range of dimensions of wellbeing in the workplace. Read the research here.
Recent news suggests myriad reasons for why companies should consider wellbeing: research indicates that 78% of employees rate their stress level as high. In a discussion of why companies are supporting emotional wellness. Forbes mentions the constant access in today’s always-on, technology-led culture, which can lead to stress and burnout. As organizations increasingly acknowledge the link between wellbeing and a range of positive business outcomes – including impacting the bottom line – the need for a comprehensive, holistic approach to wellness in the office is more important than ever.