6 Office Design Tips to Increase Employee Wellbeing

2017-04-26T19:23:52+00:00January 26th, 2017|Workplace Design, Wellbeing, Featured|

There’s an undeniable link between creativity and wellbeing in the workplace. As Steelcase research has shown, “people who are happier at work are more productive – they are more engaged, more creative and have better concentration.”

In today’s competitive market, companies must create a culture of creativity and innovation to stay ahead. We believe achieving that culture begins with a focus on employee wellbeing. Office design can have a major impact on increasing employee wellbeing. Employees thrive in a space that fosters collaboration and increases productivity — two elements that help companies attract and retain talent.

Choice and Control

Giving employees choice and control over where and how they work is key to employee wellbeing. It helps create an authentic, comfortable space that encourages people to be themselves. Achieving choice and control in an open office plan begins by providing a range of spaces with flexible furniture. This most often translates into lounge areas, private workstations, meeting rooms or open collaboration spaces. Postures might include seated workstations, standing height tables and lounge options.

Promote Movement

Offering various workspaces increases employee productivity and engagement. Options also allow employees to be more active as they move around the office throughout the day.

Besides seated, standing and lounge postures, active seating is a great option to offer. For example, turnstone’s Buoy features a rounded base that allows you to tilt and swivel while engaging your core.

Want to encourage your employees to get moving? Try starting a walking game that brings employees together. Set weekly or monthly step goals and reward participants that reach it. A friendly competition is a great way for employees to meet colleagues and build a feeling of community.

Cafe Spaces

Cafe spaces boost emotional wellbeing by reinforcing a sense of community and belonging. They also encourage a more social, happy workplace.

The best cafe areas should offer a variety of destinations with a distinct coffee shop vibe. The intent of these spaces is for people to work individually, connect with others, eat or socialize.

Continue to promote various postures in this area of the office too. Include seated and standing workspaces, collaborative seating, café tables and lounge areas.

RELATED: Inspiring Office Cafes

Collaboration Spaces

Collaboration zones are crucial to increasing employee wellbeing and engagement. Make it easy for employees to get together by including breakout spaces throughout the office.

Support collaboration with remote colleagues by offering audio and video conference tools. Ease digital and analog information sharing with monitors and white boards. And remember that not all collaboration requires the same spaces or tools. Offer various collaboration areas like project team rooms, meeting rooms and informal gathering spaces, too.

RELATED: Inspiring Collaboration Cafes

Private Spaces


In today’s predominantly open offices, privacy has become a concern for many employees. The open workspace can get noisy and distracting. To combat disruptions, be sure to provide areas where employees go to concentrate without being distracted or distracting others. Include phone booths, enclosed huddle spaces and quiet zones to help with noise distractions. Add screens on some workstations to provide visual privacy and space definition.

Office Decor

Including nature elements in the workplace has shown to reduce stress, minimize illness and enhance employee wellbeing. Adding plants throughout the office brings freshness to the space. Use materials that evoke nature like wood laminates and veneers to add warmth.

Light affects mood and productivity and getting it just right can be key to employee wellbeing. It’s important to remember that different tasks need different types and levels of lighting. Ambient lighting provides general lighting for the office. Using tasks lights gives employees control over light in their workspace.

Artwork in the workplace is another great way to add authenticity to the space. Being exposed to artwork increases employee creativity and shows off a brand’s personality. If possible, rotate the artwork periodically to bring a fresh feel to the space.