Wellbeing and Office Design

For workers in the UK, the concept of workplace wellbeing is being taken more and more seriously. The link between the workplace, health, happiness and, ultimately, production are ever more a topic of research – and of consensus. A better environment breeds better workers.

Wellbeing isn’t the kind of stuff that feeds into the bohemian corporate stereotype. Mandatory yoga classes or callisthenics, switching the whole office to standing desks: this kind of novelty wears out quickly and eventually becomes more burden than betterment.

Wellbeing is about using a range of methods to create an environment where the best workers can do their best work, without sacrificing health or happiness.

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Giving staff a choice

Like we said before, forcing someone to work in a certain way is guaranteed to breed resentment. What matters is choice: let workers choose to work in the way that maximises their productivity. Quiet rooms, break rooms, open spaces and areas for collaboration – alternative work settings give workers a chance to get an alternative frame of mind to help them focus.

Give them natural-light

The human relationship with light is delicate. We love the intense light of the sun, but an overhead fluorescent tube has a completely different effect. Light impacts our mood, which impacts our thinking and behaviour. Make your quiet rooms or breakout spaces a little dimmer than your office space.

Turn off the noise

Quiet spaces are vital. Whether it’s to be able to field phone calls in peace, concentrate on vital work or hold small meetings, these spaces can diffuse a lot of office tension.  Specialist companies such as Steelcase now specialise in quiet-spaces, touting that they inspire introverts.  I suppose if this was true, it would be difficult to get any testimonials…

Food Choices

Lots of companies have a culture of food and drink. Tea runs, biscuits, cakes and more. You can’t force staff to eat healthy, but there’s a strong link between eating well and maintaining a high energy level throughout the day. Try to offer an alternative to sweets, sugar foods, and cans of fizzy drinks. Having a healthy break room is good for everyone in the office.

Is your location ideal?

Lots of companies want to be in the city centre, but do you need to be there? If you want a new working environment, a business village is a great idea. Take your staff out of the madness of the city and bring them to a dedicated environment surrounded by tranquillity.

However you choose to approach increasing the wellbeing in your office, try not to fall for a silly gimmick. It can become a burden to staff when a well-intentioned boss bans paper, forces the workforce to sit on yoga balls, or takes valuable time out of the work day for motivation sessions.

How have you optimised your office space for wellbeing? Let us know in the comments.

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2 Comments

  1. Jade

    Really love this post. Some really good points. I think food is so important in the workplace. I’ve worked at many places none of which really provided really healthy options, just a sorry fruit bowl with a couple of bananas and an orange, but kit kats were plentiful. I recently decked out my home office and stripped everything out including the skirting.

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