6 Design Features to Improve Workplace Wellness
The office should be an enjoyable workspace for you and your employees. It is the de-facto home away from home for most of us. You spend ample amounts of time ensuring every detail of your home is idealized right? So why not your workspace?
We've seen a gradual change in people's attitudes towards workplace design and the investment they're willing to put into improving it. No longer are we satisfied with the endless facade of fluorescent lights and cubicles. Gone are the utilitarian and drab acoustical tile ceilings and plain interiors.
There is a new, better workspace being created. An environment designed to be holistic and people friendly. You want to keep up with the times, but remodeling and updating your office with every changing trend is cost prohibitive and inefficient. Therefore you need to invest in something timeless. Perhaps you should consider these six workplace design trends that will improve not only your life, but the lives of your team members.
As wellbeing continues to be a huge trend in workplace design, care should be taken to embrace a work environment that fosters mindfulness among the staff. This can be accomplished by providing good air quality, good drinking water, plentiful natural light, and a variety of quiet spaces.
Utilizing these spaces is also essential and companies are beginning to offer wellness and meditation programs, exercise facilities, healthcare services and importantly, opportunities for social engagement. In a digital-centric environment, it's important to provide an opportunity to decompress psychologically.
1 BIOPHILIC: BRINGING THE OUTSIDE INSIDE
One of the biggest trends of workplace design as of late has been what is known as biophilic design. The concept of biophilic design is the ideation of indoor spaces as natural-feeling, holistic environments. This aesthetic is accomplished by including natural elements in the design, such as living walls and natural materials like stone and wood.
Soft, natural lighting is also essential so toss out those fluorescents in the trash and go LED! We discuss several concepts for green spaces in a prior blog post. The benefit of integrating biophilic design into your workspace include improved productivity, reduced stress, and improved creative thinking.
2 OPEN SPACE IS GOOD (WITHIN REASON)
For years now workspace trends have been moving towards open and flexible environments. However, consideration also needs to be made for providing quiet, private spaces.
The heyday of the open workspace may be coming to a close and the day of the cubicle has no hope of coming back either. It ultimately depends on the dynamic of your team. Joanne Chan of SDI explains “people are intrinsically different, some argue that they require silence to be productive, while others succeed in being surrounded by their colleagues, stimulated by their energy.”
What we suggest is a hybrid model, where private working spaces are prioritized, and communal working spaces are made available. Adjust the ratio of each space as you see fit for the overall productivity of your team.
3 THE RIGHT TYPE OF LIGHTING
Yes. Lighting has been mentioned in term of biophilic design standards, but we'd like to get a bit more specific. When it comes to workplace lighting, there is a direct correlation to absenteeism in office environments (as in a 15% adverse effect.) That's a huge productivity issue!
Providing sufficient daylight and windows, along with opportunities for nature to office variability have been proven to have a positive impact on people’s well-being.
In line with appropriately managing open space. Providing an environment with the appropriate acoustical elements is somewhat new in the workspace design acumen, but an idea that will be around for some time.
Take time to plan and design your office to contribute to performance and well-being in the workplace. In acoustical terms, that means accommodating individuals that seek out quiet places. While also enabling team members the opportunity to spontaneous interactions without disturbing others.
The co-mingling of wellness culture with sustainable design results in eco-friendly offices. This all-encompassing design element is as much ethos as it is logos. It entails everything from running a good recycling program, sourcing furniture, and office supplies responsibly and making sure to reduce waste wherever possible.
Embracing a sustainable design will keep your employees happy; which will, in turn, increase productivity, improve client interactions and add your overall bottom line.
6 A HAPPY, HEALTHY OFFICE
The time and effort you put into designing your employees workspace is essential for their satisfaction and your bottom line. Why not invest in upgrading your office by integrating any of these six trends that will improve and promote wellness.
Remember: The focus has shifted from the drudgery cubicles to that of an integrated holistic workspace. A place where you and your team want to be every day. Create a space where people want to work.
All photographs are of SDI Design projects
NOAM HAZAN, AA DIPL, (formerly ARB, RIBA)
Noam is the creative director of SDI Design.
Educated and trained as an Architect in London, England. Noam has also worked in London, New York and Toronto for well renowned Architecture practices such as Foster + Partners and Richard Meier.
As a designer with an entrepreneurial spirit, Noam founded a coworking space in North York which was recognised in Forbes, Blog TO and Toronto Life. in 2017 Noam was nominated by the City of Vaughan as a candidate for 40 under 40 in Canada for 2017.
Noam regularly gives talks on office design and has had articles on the subject published.