Office design goes far beyond functionality and appearance. Designing to promote employee wellbeing is a strategy that more and more organizations are beginning to implement in the workplace. Over the last decade, we’ve seen a surge in workplace wellness programs and other workplace trends centered on health and wellbeing. Ergonomic solutions, alternative working spaces and office flexibility for workers have begun to gain more momentum. Here are a few of our suggestions for taking a health-minded approach to your workplace design.
Encourage Healthy Behavioral Patterns
Work environments designed for movement are the result of heightened employee concerns on their health as well as increased productivity. According to a Steelcase Impact Study, employees who received a Leap chair and ergonomic seating training, experienced a decrease in pain and discomfort while working. Additional solutions like height adjustable workstations and educating the importance of workplace flexibility are all ways to encourage physical movement. Allowing workers to move throughout the office to work in common areas helps promote a change in posture, which eliminates physical distress throughout the workday.
Access to Nature
Back in June of last year, we released an article on The Growing Trend of Living Walls and how this trend has inspired the way we design our own spaces. Studies show, designing with nature in mind, lessens employee stress.
We’re experiencing this first hand by bringing nature into 2 out of 3 of our locations, which has invigorated our workplaces while simultaneously increasing our office sustainability. Visual stimulation indoors is said to have a similar effect as to what we as human’s experience outdoors. Greenery, vibrant color schemes, art, and furniture with natural elements have been known to increase energy levels and support mental health.
Water features that we use in our vineyard in Santa Clara were designed to use less water while maintaining a natural, beautiful look. We’re constantly seeking ways to better our employee’s lives by taking an approach that doesn’t impact their environment in a harmful way.
Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, suggests that workers are often left dealing with the stimulation of their workplace with little opportunity to tailor their environment based on their mood or need for privacy and focus. Creating quiet zone(s) allows employees to relocate when necessary to relax, regroup and refocus. Meditation rooms, technology free zones and outdoor quiet spaces with added calming scents, plants, and lighting can all aid in employee mental and physical strength. The right combination of collaboration and quiet spaces can assist in bringing balance and choice into the modern-day workplace.