The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being…” Over the course of the last year, clients and co-workers alike have been asking What does it look like to have a healthy workplace?
When it comes to physical health, there are many opportunities for furniture, fixtures, and layout to positively impact the end user.
When specifying workstations, we look for maximum flexibility. As we know, end users are of varying sizes. The best way to situate each workstation for ideal ergonomics is to have adjustable workstations. Not only are sit-to-stand desks great for encouraging movement throughout the day, but they allow each user for a better fit when seated as well. Other flexible workstation aspects include adjustable chairs and flexible monitor arms.
Circulation Paths & Movement Interest
They say sitting is the new smoking! Workplaces have the opportunity to craft movement throughout the day. In accordance with the WELL Building Standard, graciously designing corridors and stairwells encourages light exercise throughout the day.
Many offices have pantries, which can be a beacon for health, or entirely the opposite. The WELL Building Standard prescribes guides for both food and water within the workplace. Ample access to clean drinking water helps keep employees hydrated.
When it comes to overall well-being, we are asked to delve a little deeper into workplace habits and cultures. Ultimately, happy and healthy employees are more productive, take fewer sick days, and have higher retainment periods with their employer.
Access to Natural Light
Research on circadian rhythms has continued to prove that the human body needs sunlight. Having access to natural light throughout the day can improve sleeping and eating patterns as well as increase productivity. Plus – who doesn’t like a little sunshine?
The last year and a half isolated many of us, and truly challenged the collaborative workplace. Collaboration is a crucial element of workflow, but it also fills a natural need for socialization. As we return to a safer office, we have a newfound appreciation for opportunities to engage with our teammates.
Sense of Place
Sense of Place is a design theory which states that there is a natural tendency to make a space ‘one’s own’. Especially after having been the most at home, for the last year and a half, there are new expectations for the office space. Strong office design can increase pride in a company and help encourage employees to leave their home office days behind.
The Workplace of 2021 should provide opportunity for movement, choice, and comfort. Having a healthy workplace means understanding health as a whole.