The phrase “office wellbeing” is hugely emphasized in the corporate world today. Companies are working to make their offices happy and healthy environments for their employees to work in. But what does an office that encourages user wellbeing look like?
When we design offices for wellbeing, there are four fundamentals we work around.
1. Give them an excuse to move
Studies show that the act of sitting most of the day can cut off years from your life. Office wellbeing today means giving employees an excuse to get up and move around. Since employees are no longer relegated to one spot, we can provide them with a ton of options to work in throughout the day.
In design, there are countless work-station options that can be installed in any space, like corridor high tops, close-knit huddle-spots, comfortable lounge areas and more structured benching.
Mobility also means finding inspiration throughout the day as your boundaries become limitless. An office should promote activity, even if it is just walking from one work area to the next. It’s about letting employees know it’s okay to break outside the walls of a cubicle and work wherever is best for them.
2. Promote happiness through plenty of amenities
The office is first and foremost a place to work, but it is also the place that we spend most of our waking hours. A huge part of employee wellbeing is allowing for time to refresh and break throughout the day.
As designers, we enforce this by providing plenty of amenities to help clear the mind. Ping-pong tables and gaming systems are great for bringing fun into the workplace, while comfortable lounge furniture allows for relaxation. There’s also the option of fitness rooms to promote a more active break.
Whatever the look may be, amenities in the workplace are key to promoting wellbeing and signifying to employees that it is okay to take a break. Moreover, they are another great way to promote activity throughout the day.
3. Let them see the world around them
A huge part of office wellbeing is allowing access to the world outside of the workstation. There are two vital reasons to open up office and window views.
Open views provide variety. We’ve said it before, but it’s hard to think when you are staring at the fuzzy wool of a cubicle wall all day. A change of scenery can spark new ideas and innovation.
In terms of a design, every seat in the house should be able to see a window, even ones that are far away. This can be achieved through the use of low partitions, curving corridors, and mobile work areas. Employees can thus see both what is going on in the office, and what is happening in the daylight beyond.
It is also important to design with sunlight in mind, as access to natural light positively influences job satisfaction, focus, productivity, and memory recall. Access to views and the outside world are inevitably positive needs in every office. Design brings those needs forward.
4. Create a community at work
Without a doubt, creating a community in the office is vital for employee wellbeing. Interaction and collaboration reminds us that we are not programmed workers, but working humans.
Office design consciously creates spaces within the workplace for employees to meet, collaborate and communicate. Installing kitchens and cafeterias force workers to leave their desks during lunch time. Placing niche lounge and collaboration areas throughout unused space fosters impromptu meetings. Lowering the height of workstation partitions allow colleagues to easily access one another.
Building a community is not just about forced team building activities, it’s also about guiding quotidian impromptu and fostered communication and collaboration to spur an overall communal wellbeing within the office.