The impact that design can have on our well-being is important and understanding the relationship between our physical environments and our well-being would improve the spaces that we create and design. The WELL Building Standard is the 'premier standard for buildings, interior spaces and communities seeking to implement, validate and measure feature that support and advance human health and wellness.' The standard focuses on seven concepts of building performance: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind. Even if you have no plans or the budget to become WELL Certified, companies are still utilizing the principles to help create a healthier environment. The more comfortable we are at work, the more productive we actually are and that is good business! Here are a few ways to implement these concepts at work and even now, in your home office.
Indoor air quality can have a major impact on the health, comfort and well-being of your employees. Here are a few ways you can impact the air quality.
- If your office has windows, open them, especially on a nice, warmer winter day to let fresh air in. It's April so I know us New Englanders are getting closer to more warmer days!
- Add some plants that are best for cleaning and purifying the air.
- Purchase a few humidifiers and scatter throughout the office to maintain a healthy level of humidity.
Drinking water throughout the day helps improve sleep quality and energy levels that helps your employees stay focus and alert.
- Provide safe and filtered water that is easy accessible for employees.
- Hand out company water bottles that employees can reuse throughout the workday and home.
If you want your employees to feel energized, focused and productive, you'll want them eating a nutritious, balanced diet, with the occasional office birthday cake and cookies ;)
- Limit access to processed foods in the cafe/kitchen.
- Have nutritional food options easily accessible around the office.
Natural light can do wonders to your employees' health, decreasing eyestrain and headaches that are caused from fluorescent, harsh lighting.
- Maximize natural lighting throughout the office or home.
- Move big, bulky furniture that blocks windows and sunlight.
- Add ambient and task lighting to each workspace.
Employees who lead an active lifestyle are likely to be more productive so encouraging movement at work can help company productivity.
- Park farther away at the office so you add more steps to your day or take a quick break and walk outside.
- Same goes for using the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Invest in adjustable workstations (height-adjustable desking) so employees can sit and stand.
- Meet with other team members at different locations in the office (cafe, lounge area) to reset and change up the environment within the office.
Spending most of your waking hours at work, it should be a place of comfort. Using the correct ergonomics can increase productivity; this also pertains to the home office as well.
- Use height-adjustable desking that alternate from sitting to standing positions.
- Investing in ergonomic seating and monitor arms will allow your employees to have correct posture and not cause strain from sitting.
- Providing employees with different working environments (cafe, lounge area, conference) gives the employee options to sit near a window with natural lighting or lounge area for comfort and collaboration.
Optimizing employees' emotional health by creating both breakout and social spaces will help improve concentration and creativity.
- Add biophilic design by adding potted plants and living walls to bring nature indoors.
- Create lounge spaces for employees to collaborate but also to relax and reset.
- For remote workers, Zoom conference meetings are great to share the company's most recent updates and also to bond and strengthen company culture. I know it does for us!
It's no secret that workplace design positively influences health, well-being and productivity. If we offer employees areas to recharge, enjoy and be comfortable, they will take notice the thought and mindfulness your company has put forth into the workplace.