Whether you’re building an office to launch your new business in or redesigning your existing one for growth, there’s a lot to consider. From managing your space effectively to incorporating privacy, from lighting all areas appropriately to storage and ventilation, there’s one factor that’s always forgotten about — employee well-being.
Why is employee well-being important for office design?
If you’re serious about building and designing a new office, you’re likely expanding your business and growing your brand. At the heart of all successful businesses is a highly motivated, productivity-focused team
But if 67% of all employees in 2022 experienced high levels of stress and 52% of employees reported at least mild symptoms of depression, your team won’t be the well-oiled machine you want it to be. If your team aren’t motivated, they can’t be productive. If they’re not productive, your business won’t be either. Just like supporting your legs (because they support you!), you’ve got to support your team — and that starts with your office space
46% of all working days lost to health-related issues are due to anxiety, depression, or stress — that’s around 17 million days in total. All this time off because of poor mental health can cost your business up to £1,560 per employee per year. If your employees aren’t at work, your business loses money, so it’s neither effective nor efficient to ignore well-being in the workplace.
So, bearing in mind that full-time office employees in the U.K. work between 1,820 and 2,080 hours — that’s 76 to 86 full days a year spent at work — it’s crucial you get your office culture right. And that starts with its design and build.
Combining our experience developing dynamic, fun, and unique hospitality spaces with our expertise in creating community and empowering employee engagement in offices, we know a thing or two about designing a workspace that promotes positive well-being. And if you’re looking to build a new office or redesign your existing one, here are several things to consider when designing your office around your employee’s well-being.
Lighting up your office helps your employees glow — and your business grow.
It’s no scientific secret that natural sunlight eases our anxiety levels and helps our body clocks function optimally. Recent research has even found that employees working in offices with natural light bring higher levels of energy to their work. Whereas artificial lighting can impact our physical health through eyestrains, headaches, and low energy, resulting in low productivity whilst negatively impacting mental health.
Within your lighting design – try to bring in as much natural light as possible through large windows & skylights with considerations of elements such as positioning of desks, computer glare and temperature control. Where you are unable to bring in more natural light – be clever in the interior design and the choices you make on lights. There are a number of lights that work to mimic daylight – i.e. light fidelity LED lights – but also work with different lighting designs to ensure that you are bringing the right vibe to your space.
Choose a subtle colour scheme to foster employee positivity.
Colour psychology proves that different colours shape our moods and behaviours and influence emotional responses. So, your colour scheme is critical to creating an office readymade for positive well-being.
Bright colours amplify our emotions, interrupt our cognitive performance, and cause distraction. Instead of impulsive colours like reds, oranges, and yellows, opt for colour schemes that create a sense of calm and relaxation whilst fostering creativity and positive energy.
Greens, blues and purples are ideal choices. Natural greens stimulate creation, blues are associated with health and tranquillity are relaxing, and purples reduce emotional and mental stress. Of course, don’t ignore the brighter colours — orange evokes enthusiasm, and reds reflect courage and leadership, so save them for meeting rooms and collaborative spaces.
Freedom of choice can empower your employee’s wellbeing.
Nobody wants to sit in the same space for 8 hours a day. Staring at the same screen, sitting in the same position for hours on end can cause a major brain drain. Designing an office built to enable your employee’s movement, and empower their well-being through the freedom of choice, should be a priority.
Here are a few ways you can achieve this:
- Create breakout spaces for informal catchups, collaborative meetings, or quiet coffees.
- Strike a balance between open plan and private spaces.
- Introduce different level seating so employees can switch around which helps decrease blood pressure and stress levels.
Bring the outdoors indoors with natural interior design elements.
Humans are biophilic. It means we have instinctive bonds with our natural surroundings. Incorporating biophilic design into your office’s interior can reduce stress levels, so it’s about time you bring the outdoors indoors.
Air quality in offices can be stuffy and too hot to handle. Adding plenty of natural plants isn’t just pretty to look at, but they’ll increase oxygen levels, improve concentration levels, and decrease mental fatigue. And there’s research to back it up. The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare found that hospital patients recover more quickly when they can see trees from their ward window — so why not apply that to your office?
Don’t disregard your outside areas either. If you’ve got outdoor space like rooftops, balconies, or, if you’re extra lucky, gardens, make them comfortable, enjoyable experiences for your staff when they’re stepping out for a break. Add plenty of comfortable seating and tables so lunch breaks in the sun can leave your employees coming back to work in the best of moods.
Comfort is king.
It seems simple – but the furniture you provide for your employees is crucial to their well being. Consider the ergonomics of the furniture and its functionality. For those sat in front of computers, the design of furniture and the support a seat provides must be paramount to your office design. In addition using appropriate furniture for collaboration areas or break out spaces must be fit for use and allow for creative thinking & enjoyment.
Want help designing your office to improve your employee’s well-being? Get in touch with us today.