Nowadays more and more employers are putting a greater focus on employee wellbeing. Not only is this great news for workers, but it can also benefit businesses in the long run: it has been proven that taking active measures to improve employee wellbeing can create a great return on investment due to increased productivity and reduced absenteeism.
As well as healthy eating and exercise schemes, how your office layout and interior is designed can have a really big impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of employees. So much so that there are now evidence-based certification systems for buildings and interiors that conform to certain criteria to boost employee health. The Fitwel and WELL certifications set standards for air and water quality, light and comfort levels and more.
Drawing on the principles of these certifications, as well as research into workplace wellbeing, here are our tips for your office design.
1. Maximise natural light
Lighting, particularly sufficient natural light, is a very important factor in terms of wellbeing. As well as boosting our mood and making us feel less boxed-in, exposure to natural light can have a profound impact on our health.
The WELL certification “provides illumination guidelines that minimize disruption to the body’s circadian system, enhance productivity and support good sleep quality.” Natural light in the office helps keep the body’s natural rhythm in place, and can improve employees’ moods, help them sleep better and make them more productive all round.
2. Keep employee comfort in mind
As well as comfortable, good quality seating that conforms to regulations, ambient conditions such as temperature and noise can also have a big impact on employee wellbeing. Make sure that you have good ventilation in the office and efficient ways to control the temperature with an air conditioning and heating unit. The office being too hot or cold could aggravate illnesses or conditions and is also likely to make people less productive.
Excessive noise in the office can also contribute to stress and be a big distraction. Choose noise-insulating materials for your interiors and incorporate separate quiet spaces for more focused work.
3. Harness the power of nature
You might have noticed that being outdoors in nature can make you feel relaxed. It’s well-documented that closeness and connection to nature are good for our mental wellbeing. In fact, there is a whole architectural concept around the idea.
Biophilic design seeks to connect humans with nature in the built environment by incorporating plants and green spaces into building design. Some famous examples include One Central Park in Sydney and the Eden Project in Cornwall.
Obviously you may not have the budget to commission a whole new biophilic office building, but you can still draw from the concept of biophilia to incorporate plants and greenery into your office to enhance employee mental wellbeing.
4. Devote spaces for time out
Most jobs involve some level of stress. To look after employees’ mental health, it’s vital to have areas where they can relax and chill out during their breaks. A separate area away from the desk and computer allows employees to switch off from work for a while, leaving them feeling more refreshed when they return.
It is also important to incorporate spaces for private conversation into the office. If an employee is experiencing stress, worry or mental health issues, having a separate space to talk about these problems in confidence with a manager or colleague is vital.
5. Encourage physical activity
It goes without saying that exercise and physical activity are paramount to our health. Lots of companies run schemes and events to get their employees moving. However, there are also ways in which you can design your office layout so as to encourage physical activity.
This is where a mezzanine floor can come in. On the Fitwel scorecard, one recommended strategy for promoting physical activity is: “Locate an accessible stairwell equally or more visible than any elevators and/or escalators at the main entrance”.
What better way to incorporate a visible staircase than with a mezzanine floor? Designing your office so that it encourages people to move around, especially up and downstairs, is a simple yet effective way to contribute to the health and wellbeing of your employees.
If you’d like to discuss your office redesign and how a mezzanine floor from Mezz Floors could benefit your workplace and employees, then give us a call on 01440 268 411. We’ll be happy to help and tailor a unique project with you.