Innovation is nothing new in the office design industry; even in the last 20 years, the office has gone through several evolutions. From the early 2000's that saw the end of the 'cubicle farms' and the rise of the open office, to more recent years that has seen social facilities, such as cafes, bars and games rooms', created in workplaces.

Whilst all this does to prove is that trends change, there are still aspects of a workplace design that remain a constant; one of these is the office's impact on an employee's health and wellbeing.

Why is health and wellbeing important in an office design plan?

A workplace that has been designed to cater for how employees work proves to be less stressful and provides a more productive atmosphere. Therefore, it has become vital that employers are able to take the physical work environment of their employees into their thinking when creating their new office design.

According to industry trends, an overwhelming majority of workers would like their jobs to provide healthier workplace benefits, with options including wellness rooms, sit-stand desks, healthy eating options and ergonomic seating.

It's also important to consider how the company is able to attract new talents that help to improve the products they create, catering for further success. An increasing number of people are turning down roles simply because the environments they are intending to work in do not provide them with the assurance of it being somewhere in which they can settle and work at their best.

How to create a workplace design that puts health and wellbeing at the forefront

If you're considering improving your office design to better cater for the health and wellbeing of your employees, here are some concepts you should think about:

Air quality

The quality of air within an office is likely to have a significant impact on the health of your employees, affecting their productivity in turn. In a 2015 report by the World Green Building Council, it was said that productivity could be increased by as much as 11% if fresh air was able to flow around the workstations. Some ways you can impact the air quality in your office interiors, include:

  • The installation of air filtration systems.
  • Maintain healthy levels of humidity.
  • Keep the office free of clutter and develop a 'green approach' to cleaning.
  • Add plants to provide increased levels of oxygen.
  • Have large window displays that can be opened widely.

Water access

Did you know that our brains are made up of 73% water? This is why water consumption is so important in helping us to think clearly; it could help to improve our sleep, replenish energy levels as well as give us focus and clear our minds so we're aware and alert. This can only help us to become more productive at work; so here are a few ways you can help your employees to up their water intake:

Sustenance

Eating healthily also adds some much-needed fuel to the body during the working day. If you want your employees to feel energised, focused and productive,providing the means for them to follow a nutritious, balanced diet will go along way in achieving this. You can encourage better eating habits by the following:

  • Providing facilities/equipment for them to store, prepare and cook food.
  • Give over an area of the office design for them to sit, eat and relax in comfort.
  • Improve access to handwashing facilities.
  • Provide information on how they can improve their diet – perhaps introduce a company initiative where everyone will receive a healthy meal every week or so?

Natural Light

Adding bigger window displays aren't just ideal to allow for the circulation of air, they provide an outlet for natural light to shine in from the outside too. One major issue with artificial lighting (especially fluorescent lights) is that their shining of unnatural light may cause people to suffer from distractions, discomfort, even from headaches and eye strain.

Establishing a customisable lighting system (such as LEDs) is far better to light the office on dark days; in comparison, fluorescent lights shine the same constant level. Here are a few ways you can rethink your office's lighting design:

  • Maximise natural lighting where possible. Add skylights too.
  • Control the glare of your artificial lighting.
  • Move any bulky furniture that blocks sunlight from entering the office.
  • Replace any broken/flickering lighting.
  • Consider laying different types of lighting in different areas of the office; ambient lighting in areas designed for relaxation, task lighting for the open working areas, etc.

Fitness

Our bodies are made to be on the move, not to stay sitting in the same position all day. Employees who are able to lead an active lifestyle are far more likely to be productive; for a start, they'll be able to physically deal with being in the same chair for 7 hours a day.

Exercise also increases the flow of blood to the brain, increasing our energy and alertness; helping to sharpen our concentration and decision-making. You can encourage movement within your office design by offering your employees:

  • Adjustable (ergonomic) workstations, which they can fit around their personal preferences, rather than them, having to fit themselves around the limitations of the desk.
  • Introduce a space for physical activity. This can be anything from a fully-equipped gym with weights,treadmills and bikes, to an ambiently-lit room equipped with comfy seating/cushions for people to meditate/relax or mats for them to do yoga/stretching exercises.
  • Showering facilities should accompany any gym/fitness facility, but they're also great to give anyone the opportunity to refresh themselves after a particularly stressful day.
  • As cycling to work is growing increasingly popular, the introduction of bicycle storage would encourage more of your employees to take up the exercise as they go to and from work.

Comfort

The workplace should be a place of comfort. To this end, the use of ergonomics can help to lessen fatigue, increase productivity and reduce the pressure placed on the body (which may lead to physical injury). Some ways that you can create a comfortable, distraction-free working environment, include:

  • Create working areas that have ergonomics in mind. They should provide your employees with the ability to move between sitting and standing positions easily and quickly.
  • Give your employees a different type of area in which to work during the day. Agile office design sees the creation of multiple areas for different uses; open offices for working, private offices for concentration and breakout rooms for collaboration and informal meetings, etc.

So those were our tips on creating an office fit out that will help to improve the wellbeing of your employees, making them fitter, happier and more productive. If you're interested in learning more about how you can establish such a workplace design, why not consider getting in touch with the expert team here at Oaktree Interiors?

Choose Oaktree Interiors for bespoke workplace design

Throughout the last 30 years, the team here at Oaktree Interiors have been creating bespoke office designs for a vast range of business types and sizes; from new start-ups wanting to establish themselves in their industry to different links in a chain of multinational offices. Regardless of your requirements, we have a proven experience of creating modern working environments that help to lay the foundations for the business to flourish.

As part of our leading office design service, we offer a completely FREE, no-obligation consultancy service. We work with you to understand all of your requirements and the space on offer, before creating 2-D and 3-D designs of what your ideal office may look like; this gives you the perfect insight, without you spending any of your budget!

To learn more about our workplace design services, please feel free to give us a call on 0345 21 86955. Alternatively, you can send any enquiries you have via e-mail to hello@oaktreeoffice.com.

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