In the design world, trends come and go, however, one design trend we see sticking around is workplace wellness and health for employees. Over the past two decades the workplace has changed substantially. Prior to the early 2000’s, the typical workplace was an artificially lit cubicle farm surrounded by enclosed private offices that blocked all the natural light. Since then, designers and clients have embraced workplace trends from open planning concepts to game rooms and sliding boards instead of stairs. We think planning for the health and wellness of employees in the workplace is here to stay.
A workplace that promotes health and wellness has positive effects on both the employees and employer. Studies have shown that a healthy lifestyle and environment enable employee productivity, engagement and retention. Given that we spend up to 90% of our day indoors it is important that we are surrounded by an environment that supports our health and well-being.
We’ve found that the WELL Building Standard is a great guide for best practices to achieve a healthier workplace. The WELL Building Standard is the first standard with a focus on health and well-being of the building occupants. WELL is focused on seven concepts: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind. Below are some examples of how you can integrate some of these concepts to your workplace.
Air quality issues cause respiratory problems, diminish work productivity and lead to sick building syndrome, below are few easy tips to improve the quality of air in your workplace:
• Select low VOC paints and finishes
• Have walk-off mats at the entry of your space
• Install operable windows/doors in your workspace for natural ventilation
• Use green cleaning products
• Install carpet tiles
80% of the US is mildly dehydrated which can cause many health issues. It is recommended that men consume 125 oz and women 91 oz of water a day, below are a few ways to encourage healthy hydration:
• Provide safe filtered water within 100’ of regularly occupied areas
• Change and maintain water filters
• Test drinking water
Dietary guidelines for Americans recommend 4 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. In addition to nourishment guidelines the WELL Building Standard has recommendations to prevent food borne illness in the workplace. Below are a few tips to champion proper nourishment in the workplace:
• Provide disposable paper towels at sinks in lieu of hand dryers
• Provide .7cf of refrigerator space for each employee.
• Have an office garden with vegetables, herbs and edible plants.
• Provide plenty of spaces for eating, tables and chairs for 25% of employees
• Make fruit and vegetables available to staff
Access to natural light is important to health and wellbeing, here are a few ways to achieve better lighting in your office
• Maximize natural light
• Control glare
• Select light paint colors for the majority of for walls and ceilings.
It is recommended to get 30 minutes of activity per day, a few ways to encourage movements are below:
• Provide access and encourage use of stairs
• Storage for bicycles
• Provide areas for physical activity
• Height adjustable workstations
Comfortable, distraction free environments lead to happier employees who are more productive, here are several ways to support greater comfort in the workplace:
• Providing adjustable chairs and workstations for proper ergonomics
• Invest in a white noise system
• Provide employees with a choice of areas to work throughout the office
• Limit noise created from building mechanical systems
Interior environments at are aesthetically pleasing and that incorporate nature can enhance the employees experience, mood and happiness, below are some tips to promote emotional health:
• Bring the outdoors in with plants and patterns that evoke nature
• Provide opportunities for connections to the exterior
• Create collaborative spaces and areas to meditate and relax
At ID Studios, we are passionate above creating spaces that promote health and wellness as well as environmental sustainability. Reach out to see how we can help.