Workplace wellbeing is not a new concept but has gained momentum since the pandemic. As people are returning to offices, it has become a prime consideration for staff and businesses. Studies show that the physical working environment has an enormous impact on employees’ overall health and wellbeing but office designs do not always support the health and wellbeing of employees.
Poor design makes people miserable at work and increases absenteeism and illness, reducing employee engagement, job satisfaction, and productivity. These challenges are motivating companies to address wellbeing in the workplace. Many are turning to active design guidelines to improve health and wellbeing in the workplace. Thoughtfully designed workplaces can promote movement, reduce stress, and make it easier for employees to do their work. When employees are well, their quality of life improves and so does their quality of work.
Design ideas to create a healthy office
Happiness and wellbeing are subjective in an office as it has to suit the individual roles and personalities within a company. It has started with a combination of design and organizational interventions supported by leadership and culture. In this article, we are discussing some design ideas you can use to make your workplace healthier:
Open offices are synonymous with noise and it is one of its biggest criticisms. Noise has a negative effect on moods, productivity, and overall mental health. As much as noisy offices are to be avoided, very quiet spaces can also be a problem. Sound absorbing design elements can help reduce the noise and sound-masking systems can create a consistent ambient noise, almost like white noise, so that you can have speech privacy.
Lack of privacy and choices in an office can lead to anxiety and stress among people. No one workspace can ideally support the variety of work that you do throughout the day. A sense of pride and autonomy can be established by offering employees a variety of workspaces in activity-based working models. This will provide the occupants with options for different areas specific to the user’s needs e.g. focus work, teamwork or meetings. Add relaxation rooms that are cozy and comfortable, outdoor spaces that provide time and space for reflection or socialization, rooms for quick power naps.
Colors and artwork
Colors inside the office spaces should evoke a sense of calm and relaxation, but also foster creativity and positive energy. Art can have a positive impact on our emotions and our productivity. A study has shown that employees working in spaces enriched with colors, greenery, and art were 17% more productive. Other studies have found that art can boost creativity and help reduce stress levels. The optimal combination of colors and artwork will help improve productivity without overstimulating the senses.
Light and Air
Natural sunlight alleviates levels of anxiety, symptoms of depression whereas indoor office lighting often causes eye strain and can lead to headaches and stress. Exposure to poor lighting throughout the day has a substantial impact on our sleep and energy levels. Circadian-rhythm lighting can be used that mimics the sun's natural shifts in light and color temperature.
Good ventilation and superior air quality have lots of health benefits. It can boost people’s productivity at work and double their cognitive function.
Designed for comfort
Biophilic accents and natural textures make a space feel natural and calming. Ergonomic chairs can help with poor posture can also lead to back pain, which can contribute to increased rates of absenteeism. Installing adjustable workstations (AWS) or sit-stand desks can give them the option to take breaks from long periods of sitting which is bad for overall health. Other different soft seating options throughout the office can make people feel at home and relaxed.
Creating office spaces with wellness in mind can benefit both companies and their employees. So, it makes sense for businesses to invest in office design solutions that make office spaces healthier. It is not just ‘nice to have’ but a ‘must have’ in the current scenario of work. A healthy, supportive and comfortable workplace helps reach employees their true potential.