Though ergonomics and sustainability have long been influencing workplace design, wellbeing is the most recent consideration making headlines when planning your space. Wellbeing is a holistic design focusing on the user, aiming to encourage healthy living by providing wellness programs, social interaction and supporting cognitive activities.
Healthy living is encouraged because it has been shown to directly impact productivity and creativity. But equally as important, a company’s focus on wellbeing can do much to attract and retain talent, boost staff engagement and ultimately, a better performing workforce will positively impact the bottom line.
How do you bring wellbeing into the workplace? Here are 8 simple ways:
Ambient lighting provides general lighting for the office. Using tasks lights gives your staff control by adding more light to their work space. Also, having a multi generational workplace requires the space to provide different levels of lighting.
2. Bring a sense of the outdoors
Bring a sense of outdoors into your workplace by incorporating live plants and natural, sustainable materials into the design. Natural plants purify air and for some, can help relieve stress. Plants can also absorb sound, which has a positive affect on productivity if noise is an issue.
3. Provide a variety of spaces
Design a layout that include a variety of different spaces for your staff to choose from. Design spaces for collaboration, heads down work and other social interactions. For collaborative activities, group lounge pieces together in an open space or screen areas for heads down work. These could be in close proximity to workstations to encourage use. Additionally, ensure these spaces have access to power and data so your people won’t have to waste time searching for ways to keep their devices up and running.
4. Design an open plan work place
An open plan work place can assure that everyone has outdoor views and natural sunlight. Natural sunlight energizes and lifts your mood. If you have window blinds that must be used (to reduce computer glare, etc.), use a darker shade color for the side facing the interior of the room. The dark color with small perforations absorb the light, making the exterior views more visible.
5. Encourage different postures
Encourage different postures by providing standing height work surfaces for meetings, social gatherings or spaces to perch for few minutes. These could be as simple as positioning three-drawer lateral files close together, using storage units or using a standing height ledge for perching or answering a phone call. As long as power and data are available, people will use creative spaces like these as an alternative to traditional desks to break up their day.
6. Provide healthy snacks in the break room
While some companies go the distance of providing organic-only lunches and snacks for their staff, even small items or periodic snacks can go a long way in promoting wellbeing.
7. Set aside a space for social gathering
Creating a breakroom that transforms into a town hall meeting space for monthly updates and such. If you would like to have a game area, locate it near the breakroom to encourage everyone to use it, but away from conference rooms to avoid distractions and noise.
8. Encourage exercise
Encourage exercise by teaming up with a local gym or a fitness program. If your lease is up, try to find a building that offers an amenity space. Amenity spaces usually have a gym space for all building employees to use. In this way, your staff can use it before or after work or during lunch break. If none of these works, consider creating a walking path if your space allows it—preferably along the perimeter and nearest the windows. Define this path through change in floor material and color, and use cool graphics to encourage its use.