“Workplace wellbeing” is an increasingly common industry focus as designers & forward-thinking organizations alike seek new ways to approach the topic. Now, designing for wellness is no longer a trend, but an expectation. In this month’s news aggregate, we explore the latest industry buzz surrounding workplace wellbeing.
The Wellbeing-Centric Mindset
Employees are increasingly advocating for workplaces to consider wellbeing, and employers are taking note. According to the 2019 Staples Workplace Survey, Facility Executive points out that companies are offering more health-focused options – gym reimbursements, healthy food choices and ergonomic settings are just a few. Work Design Magazine, for instance, spoke with WHOOP’s leadership – who canvassed their employees prior to their office redesign – noting that many employees desired access to a gym and alternative workstations.
Dr James Chandler, a policy adviser at the Work Foundation in London, encapsulates how workplace wellbeing impacts the bottom line: “The evidence is clear that healthier organizations are more profitable, and equally, employees that are in good health are more productive at work.”
With more employers exploring wellbeing and the associated positive outcomes, opportunities are rising for designers to play a significant role in creating spaces that encourage movement and bring positivity, flexibility and fun into a company’s DNA.
Allwork.Space adds that lack of choice in the workplace leads to stress, and suggests having spaces like nap pods, breakout rooms and flexible areas to assuage this. HR Dive echoes this call for adaptable workspaces, highlighting insight that employers are more likely to retain and engage talent if they have flexible workplace offerings that allow people to feel more in control of their work experience.
Meanwhile, BBC acknowledges the idea that happy and healthy workforces are more likely to stick around, and giving people the option to take breaks – and even restricting emails during the weekends – can improve job performance.
Design For The Human Experience
By focusing on the human experience in the workplace, companies are better able to support many types of wellbeing – beyond only physical health. Isobel Scott, lead designer of YourStudio, emphasizes the importance of human-centered design in On Office Magazine: “Understanding the human emotion and bringing empathy to our thinking is vital to the space being a success, so we ensure that our design direction always has experience at the core.”
In Commercial Interior Design, Gerard Evenden, Head of Studio at architecture firm Foster + Partners, discusses the importance of encouraging human interaction in the built environment – suggesting that organizations invest in home-like design that encourages interaction, which ultimately aids productivity.
A Holistic Approach
While there is no one-size-fits-all method, understanding and designing for the range of dimensions of wellbeing – including physical, social, emotional and cognitive – will only gain momentum in the workplace in 2019.