Wellness in Office Design: Gearing Offices for the Wellness Generation

Office designs have come a long way since the times of dimly lit, cramped cubicles with minimum regard for employee wellbeing. Historically, office design emphasised functionality over comfort, often at the expense of employee health and wellbeing. But over the last few decades, we have observed a paradigm shift in the way offices are designed, with a newfound focus on promoting health and wellness.

This evolution in workplace wellbeing has been driven by an increasing awareness of the significant role the environment plays in our wellbeing and performance. Coupled with this is the emergence of the “Wellness Generation” – a term coined to describe a cohort of workers who highly value their mental and physical health, and expect their workplaces to support their wellness goals.

The Wellness Generation is not bound by age or demographic restrictions; instead, it’s a mindset that transcends boundaries. This generation seeks work environments that not only enable them to do their job, but also encourage a healthy, balanced lifestyle. They are aware that an investment in personal wellbeing translates into better performance at work and improved overall life satisfaction.

The Link Between Productivity, Wellness, and Office Design

Increasingly, research is solidifying the link between workplace wellness, productivity, and office design. Well-designed workplaces that prioritise wellness don’t just improve employees’ morale and job satisfaction – they tangibly boost productivity.

A report by the World Green Building Council found that improved air quality could result in productivity gains of up to 11%, while better lighting has been linked to a 23% increase in productivity. Furthermore, a study by the American Society of Interior Designers revealed that 90% of employees admit their attitude about work is adversely affected by the quality of their workplace environment. It’s clear that the environment we work in has a profound impact on our health, wellbeing, and overall performance.

Wellness-focused offices that incorporate elements like natural light, greenery, ergonomic furniture, quiet zones for focus, and areas for socialising and relaxation create an atmosphere conducive to both wellbeing and productivity. Such designs help reduce work-related stress and burnout, inspire creativity, and promote physical health.

The Wellness Generation has a heightened awareness of these factors. They know that the days spent in their workplace will contribute significantly to their overall health and quality of life. Consequently, businesses aiming to attract and retain the best talent must take heed and adapt their office spaces accordingly. The future of office design is wellness-oriented, and the companies that embrace this evolution will be at the forefront of attracting the Wellness Generation.

Importance of Wellness in the Office

Benefits to the Organisation

Investing in wellness in the workplace reaps numerous benefits for an organisation. Firstly, it significantly enhances employee satisfaction. By demonstrating an investment in employees’ wellbeing, companies can foster a sense of value and respect among their workforce, leading to increased motivation and happiness at work.

Moreover, wellness-focused offices have proven effective in attracting and retaining top talent. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that employees working in green-certified offices showed 26% higher cognitive function, fewer sick leave hours, and a 6% higher sleep quality score than those in non-certified offices. These factors make wellness-oriented workplaces a significant draw for prospective employees and a compelling reason for current employees to stay.

Productivity, too, receives a notable boost in offices designed with wellness in mind. This stems from the increased comfort, reduced stress levels, and overall improved wellbeing that these environments provide. When employees are happier and healthier, their work output naturally tends to be of a higher standard and efficiency.

Lastly, the company’s brand and image get positively impacted. An organisation that prioritises the wellbeing of its employees sends a strong message about its values and ethos. It shows the company’s commitment to a healthier, happier, and more sustainable work culture, strengthening its image among stakeholders, clients, and the public.

Benefits to Employees

The benefits of wellness-focused office design extend to personal benefits for employees as well. At the most fundamental level, these designs contribute to better physical health. For example, ergonomic furniture can help prevent chronic conditions like back pain, while the inclusion of plants can improve air quality.

Mental health, too, is positively influenced by wellness-oriented design. Natural light, quiet spaces, and areas dedicated to relaxation can reduce stress and anxiety. These features can also boost mood, improve focus, and foster a sense of calm, significantly improving the daily work experience.

In the long term, wellness-focused offices promote a better work-life balance by preventing burnout and promoting healthier habits. For example, providing spaces for exercise or meditation encourages employees to take necessary breaks and care for their own wellbeing during the workday. Additionally, a comfortable and positive work environment can lead to career longevity, as employees are less likely to leave due to work-related stress or health issues.

In summary, incorporating wellness into office design creates a win-win situation for both organisations and their employees. Businesses see increased productivity, improved talent retention, and a boosted image, while employees enjoy a healthier, happier, and more satisfying work life. As we navigate the changing landscapes of work, the importance of wellness only becomes more critical and relevant.

Key Elements in Office Wellness

Natural Elements

One of the fundamental elements of wellness-oriented office design is the incorporation of natural elements, also known as ‘biophilic design’. This can include elements such as indoor plants, sunlight, views of nature, and even water features.

Studies have shown that plants in the workplace can reduce stress, increase productivity, and improve air quality by filtering out common volatile organic compounds. Access to natural light, too, is crucial. Natural light has been shown to regulate sleep, mood, and vitamin D levels, thereby reducing fatigue and improving overall wellbeing.

Water features, while not always feasible, can contribute to a calming ambience and help mask distracting ambient noise. Even visual access to nature or the use of natural materials in interior design can have a positive impact on wellness.

Ergonomics and Physical Comfort

Physical comfort in the office has a direct impact on productivity and wellbeing. Ergonomic furniture is designed to support the body’s natural position and movement, helping to prevent discomfort and long-term health problems.

Ergonomic chairs can support good posture, adjustable desks allow for standing or sitting based on personal comfort, while keyboard trays and monitor stands can reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries. It’s also essential to create spaces that encourage movement, as prolonged sitting can lead to health issues like obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Mental Health Considerations

Mental health considerations are paramount in wellness-focused office design. Providing quiet areas where employees can focus without distractions can reduce stress and increase productivity. These spaces are particularly important in open-plan offices, where noise and interruptions can be constant.

Dedicated relaxation spaces, where employees can meditate, unwind or even nap, can also contribute significantly to mental wellness. These spaces provide a mental break and help employees return to their tasks refreshed and focused.

Social and Communal Spaces

While quiet and privacy are essential, so too are social and communal spaces. Such spaces can foster collaboration, boost morale, and promote a sense of community within the workplace.

These can take various forms, from open lounge areas and cafeterias with comfortable seating, to informal meeting areas and outdoor spaces. A well-designed communal space can encourage employees to interact, share ideas, and build relationships, contributing to a positive and cohesive workplace culture.

Wellness-focused office design is multi-faceted, considering various aspects of an employee’s health and wellbeing. By incorporating natural elements, focusing on ergonomics and comfort, prioritising mental health, and creating social communal spaces, businesses can create an environment that not only attracts the Wellness Generation but also nurtures their wellbeing and productivity.

London Office Space: Case Studies in Wellness Design

London is home to a plethora of businesses that have incorporated wellness design elements into their office spaces. Let’s take a look at a few notable examples:

Case Study 1: Google, King’s Cross

Google’s London office in King’s Cross is an excellent example of wellness design. The space is filled with natural light and incorporates both an open terrace and rooftop garden, providing staff with a breath of fresh air during the workday. Inside, adjustable sit-stand desks, nap pods, and a variety of quiet spaces demonstrate a commitment to ergonomic and mental wellbeing.

In addition to these features, Google’s London office has a wellness centre with a gym, massage rooms, and even a dance studio to encourage physical activity and relaxation. Employees have reported increased satisfaction, less stress, and higher productivity since moving into the wellness-designed space.

Case Study 2: Uncommon, 34-37 Liverpool Street

Situated in East London’s vibrant district, Uncommon Liverpool Street at 34-37 Liverpool Street is not just an office space but a haven for wellness. Just a stone’s throw from Liverpool Street station, this location is the embodiment of convenience.

Starting the day right is easy here, thanks to the on-site café serving wholesome breakfasts and artisan coffee. However, the wellness focus extends beyond food, with areas designed specifically to promote health and wellbeing. The rooftop terrace offers stunning views of London’s skyline – a perfect spot for mindful breaks. Meanwhile, the Uncommon App allows you to manage your wellness journey seamlessly, even when you’re on the go.

The Members Lounge is designed to facilitate productive work while encouraging networking and building connections. Its versatile zones allow for various activity-based working styles, catering to your mental wellbeing.

Furthermore, Uncommon Liverpool Street prioritises physical health. Quiet wellness areas, equipped with Peloton Bikes and Meditation Pods, provide an oasis for relaxation and fitness. Complimentary fitness classes are also offered, encouraging a balanced lifestyle.

Adapting to the Wellness Generation: Steps for Businesses

Embracing the Wellness Generation through thoughtful office design doesn’t happen overnight. It requires an understanding of your employees’ needs, strategic planning, and, often, a cultural shift within the organisation. Below are the steps businesses can take to transition their offices into wellness-focused environments.

Initial Steps

The first step towards a wellness-focused office design is understanding your employees’ needs and preferences. This could be achieved through surveys or focus groups to gather information about what improvements employees would like to see in their workspace.

Next, consider bringing in an office design professional who specialises in wellness design. They can provide insights into the latest trends and evidence-based design strategies that promote wellness.

Also, involve your employees in the design process. This not only ensures that their needs are met, but also gives them a sense of ownership and involvement in their workspace, which can boost morale and job satisfaction.

Road map for Transition

Transitioning to a wellness-focused office doesn’t have to happen all at once. Here’s a possible road map:

  1. Start with quick wins: simple changes like introducing more plants, improving office lighting, or adding comfortable seating in communal areas can have a significant impact.
  2. Gradually incorporate larger changes: these might include introducing ergonomic furniture, designing quiet zones, or creating dedicated relaxation spaces.
  3. Continuously review and adapt: remember, creating a wellness-focused office is an ongoing process. Regularly review your progress, seek feedback from employees, and be ready to make adjustments as needed.

Potential Challenges and Solutions

As with any significant change, businesses may face challenges when transitioning to a wellness-focused office design. Budget constraints, for instance, can limit what changes can be made. However, remember that wellness design does not always mean a complete office overhaul. Many cost-effective solutions can have a big impact, such as improving natural light usage, introducing indoor plants, or rearranging the office to promote movement.

Another challenge might be resistance to change among employees. It’s crucial to communicate the benefits of wellness design clearly and involve employees in the process to gain their buy-in.

Finally, each company culture is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Customising the wellness design to fit the company’s culture and needs is crucial to its success.

Embracing wellness is a worthwhile investment in any office environment. Not only does it improve employee wellbeing, satisfaction, and productivity, but it also positions companies as forward-thinking, attracting the Wellness Generation and retaining valuable talent. With careful planning and strategic design, any business can transform its office into a space that supports and enhances the wellbeing of its workforce.

Wrap Up

The importance of wellness in office design cannot be overstated. As we’ve seen, thoughtful, wellness-oriented design can bring about a myriad of benefits. It improves productivity, bolsters employee wellbeing, and enhances talent retention. At the same time, it elevates the company’s image, projecting an ethos of care and forward-thinking that resonates with the Wellness Generation.

Incorporating wellness into office design goes beyond aesthetics; it fundamentally alters the way employees interact with their workspace. By nurturing physical and mental health, encouraging movement, fostering a sense of community, and connecting employees to nature, wellness-focused design creates a harmonious and energising work environment.

In the dynamic business landscape of London and beyond, staying attuned to the evolving needs of the workforce is key to remaining competitive. The Wellness Generation is here, and their expectations of a healthy and supportive workspace need to be met.

Now is the time for businesses to take a critical look at their current office spaces. What elements serve the wellness of your employees, and which areas could see improvement? Whether through small changes or a comprehensive redesign, every step towards a wellness-focused office is a step towards a healthier, more productive, and more satisfied workforce.

Embracing wellness is not merely a trend; it’s a fundamental shift reflecting our growing understanding of health and wellbeing. As businesses, let’s take up the mantle of this movement, transforming our workplaces into spaces that truly support and inspire our teams. The time to act is now, for the wellbeing of our employees and the success of our organisations.

Looking for a wellness-focused office space in London?

As you consider transforming your workspace into a wellness-focused environment, remember that you’re not alone in this journey. London Office Space is here to provide the guidance and resources you need to find a workplace that supports the mental and physical wellbeing of your employees.

With an extensive understanding of the London office market and a deep commitment to wellness in workplace design, our team can help you find an office space that meets the needs and expectations of the Wellness Generation. Whether you’re looking for a new space to accommodate your wellness-oriented redesign or seeking advice on how to adapt your current office, we can provide the expertise and support you require.

Don’t wait to make the changes that will foster wellness and productivity in your organisation. Get in touch with us at London Office Space today. Let’s work together to create an office environment that truly supports and nurtures the wellbeing of your team. In doing so, we can ensure that your business not only meets the needs of today, but is also well-prepared for the future.


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