When I think of office designs, I typically think of spaces that are designed to increase the company's bottom line. Sadly, that usually means wall-to-wall desks with bad lighting—all in the name of saving a buck. Think The Jungle mixed with the Industrial Revolution.
But these days, many office planners have been rethinking the office design concept in a new way – with employee wellbeing as the top priority.
Why a shift in office design? (or at least my perception). I imagine it is because research shows that when employees are better cared for in terms of wellbeing – health, happiness and comfort – it can have lasting benefits on an organization. Companies that look out for the wellbeing of employee can even have a competitive advantage.
Workplace researcher Tom Rath notes:
"The most successful organizations are now turning their attention to employee wellbeing as a way to gain emotional, financial and competitive advantage.”
Steelcase has recently released an interesting research article on Wellbeing that examines different aspects of wellbeing office planners can look to improve in workplaces:
Vitality is the area I generally consider in conversations about office design and wellbeing, but it is very true that many other categories exist when we think of being a person with a healthy wellbeing. Physical comfortability is great, but if an employee doesn't feel like they belong to the organization, it might all be for nothing.
In order to help promote these additional categories of Wellbeing, Steelcase Research describes some types of spaces office planners can include and implement into their office designs:
Project Studios – Assists teamwork and are "well-appointed to meet user needs around tools, hospitality, amplification and posture options."
Cafe – "Provides opportunities to connect socially and hosts mobile workers graciously to facilitate a sense of belonging, promote healthy professional relationships and bridge presence disparities."
Nomadic Camp – "An area for mobile users with a variety of settings that welcome and accommodate focus and collaboration. "
Private Office – "An owned space that provides the ability to express one’s self and display personal items and professional artifacts"
Patio – "A setting that offers inspiring views, access to nature and a palette of place, postures and presence options."
Retreat – "An informal place that enables people to be alone with others nearby or have informal interactions within the hum of surrounding activity."
Innovation suite – "A space to fine-tune imagination, spark creativity and foster critical thinking."
Enclave – "Small, private spaces that provide respite, focus and rejuvenation."
Resident Neighborhood – "Owned individual space with supportive tools and personal control. Users can personalize their workstations and adjust for comfort."
How does your organization use office settings to improve and promote Wellbeing?