4th Mar 2020

Office Design for Wellbeing: D is for Design

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We’re back with the fourth instalment of our A-Z of Workplace Wellbeing and this time we’re focusing on creating office designs for wellbeing.

Your office design directly affects the wellbeing and productivity of your people, can shape the culture of your business, and the way in which your people work. So we hope you’ll agree that it can, and should, be integral to the success of an organisation in achieving its goals.

You’ve probably heard the stat before that we spend almost a third of our lives at work. Which is why the workplace design process shouldn’t be started with too much haste.

So, let’s talk about how and why design is influential on wellbeing.

How is design linked to wellbeing?

Office trends come and go but the link between workplace design and wellbeing remains strong.

Essentially, it all comes back to the fact that people need to feel comfortable and calm in order to produce their best work. So people-focused design is the way to go.

Optimising a space according to the needs of those using it is a great way to help your people feel more relaxed – it reduces stress and helps to make their job as easy as possible. Often this includes creating varied spaces that can be used in different ways, for example, spaces designed to encourage collaboration as well as concentration.

According to The Fellowes Workplace Wellness Trend Report, employees want to work in a healthy environment. In fact, 87% of respondents said they would like their current employer to offer healthier workplace benefits.

how do you create an office design for wellbeing first?

Whilst designing an office space for wellbeing requires careful consideration of every element, there are some key design factors that can make a significant difference. That’s why we place so much emphasis on the workplace consultancy process at the beginning of each project.

Here are seven things to consider:

1.     Choice

Our top consideration when it comes to office design is offering your team choice – it allows them the freedom to decide how and where they work best, rather than feeling restricted or micro-managed.

But as we’ve already mentioned, allowing for choice means your design has to incorporate different types of space. Many businesses are choosing to create an agile workspace to allow for this type of working. We talked more about this in the first instalment of our A-Z blog series – A is for Agile.  

2.     Biophilics

Biophilic design is becoming increasingly popular, as a growing pool of research shows its profound impact on the wellbeing of those using a space.

As human beings, we’re drawn to natural elements, so it’s hardly surprising that bringing them into the workplace improves our experience. In fact, the Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace study found that people who worked in spaces with natural elements reported 15% higher levels of wellbeing, and also felt 6% more productive and 15% more creative! Sounds like a winning combo to us.

3.     Lighting

Whilst the ‘green element’ of biophilic design is key in improving wellbeing, i.e. bringing in plants and greenery, so is natural light. Incorporating as much natural light as possible into your workspace really helps your team to feel energised.

If it’s not possible to have a lot of natural light in your building, or perhaps during the winter months, it’s important to consider alternative lighting solutions. Appropriate lighting can help to reduce eye strain and headaches and it’s no secret that coloured lighting can also impact mood.

4.     Ventilation

The quality of the air within your office space can significantly impact the health of your team.

A lack of fresh air, increased carbon dioxide, or the presence of pollutants has been found to reduce productivity. And research by the World Green Building Council found productivity to increase by 11% as a result of increased fresh air in the workplace.

5.     Furniture

It’s important to make sure you’re moving throughout the day. Not only does it give you a second away from your work to think and breathe, but exercise also releases feel-good endorphins that are good for a number of things, including productivity.

Ergonomic furniture can also help improve wellbeing. According to Forbes, research has shown that standing whilst working for just half an hour a day can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol and stress levels. Sit-stand desks anyone?!

And lastly, don’t forget that the materials used in your office furniture can help your team reap the benefits of biophilic design by using certain natural colours, textures or patterns.

6.     Acoustics

With a whopping 70% of offices reported to be open plan, acoustics is something that can’t be overlooked. Reverberation in an office space can leave us feeling like we don’t have any privacy, which can be a huge source of stress. But luckily, considering the acoustics of your space can help to create a happier, healthier environment for your people.

Our blog outlines 3 ways to reduce noise in your office space.

7.     Technology

Imagine your entire workforce, client base and supply chain were completely connected and able to share information, plans and resources wherever they were, using efficient workplace tech solutions. The dream, right?

That’s exactly what putting the right workplace tech in place can help you to achieve. If you’re interested in learning more, read our blog on choosing the right tech for your office.

Designing your own workspace

Is your office designed for the wellbeing of your people? If not, why not?!

According to Forbes (and us!), office design is an extremely valuable business investment. Not only does it put the needs of your people first to produce a happy and healthy team, but a well-designed office can provide an incredible return on investment in both wellbeing and financial terms.

If you want some help getting started, check out our office refurbishment guide. It’s packed full of information to help you on your way to creating a stylish, productive workspace where your people can thrive.


Chloe Sproston

Creative Director