While office trends may be dynamic, its impact on the health and well-being of the employees should always be one of the priorities of its design. A healthy workplace is an ideal place to work in. According to some research on employee behavior, one of the top three factors that employees look for in a job is a company’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of its employees. This is given more emphasis as the world transitions to the new normal, giving a deeper definition of what a healthy workplace should look like.
The physical space where employees spend the majority of their time daily has a very significant impact on the overall physical and mental well-being of people. An ideal and ‘healthy’ workplace is a space that leads to a less stressful and more productive atmosphere. Companies can provide a healthy workplace by ensuring that the physical work environment is set to the highest industry standards and criteria. An ideal physical work environment ensures that the design and layout of the workplace are optimal for the comfort, productivity, and motivation of its employees.
The design of an office can greatly influence the overall health of its occupants. Architects, engineers, and designers should consider many factors when building a healthy workplace such as:
- Materials used from construction – green materials should be considered to avoid the hazardous gasses (VOCs) that most carpet, paint, and other materials emit years after construction is complete
- Furniture selection – correct ergonomics in furniture that promote good posture will allow your employees to work more effectively
- Indoor air quality – a good air filtration system prevents viruses from being passed from one employee to another
- Light quality – work areas should well distributed general lighting with little to no glare for an ideal work environment
- Reverb control – the ideal sound level in an office is around 55 decibels. This is can be achieved by installing sound regulating materials in the walls, ceilings, or floors of your office
- Integration of speech privacy detailing – provide areas for your employees to have private conversations such as phonebooths and huddle rooms
Workplace design should also prioritize the psychosocial health of the employees. A healthy workplace should go beyond physical modifications and provide greater support to employees to their social needs in the office. The open office layout that supports collaboration and fosters communication within teams inside the workplace is found to be more ideal for employees. The
workplace design should center on versatility, spatial choreography, effective detailing, and design ingenuity. According to experts in workplace design and strategy, to support this well-being aspect, spaces should be experiential for employees.
Emphasizing the importance of promoting health and wellness has never been more important. As the globe continues to battle the pandemic, office buildings and workplaces have been implementing stricter measures to ensure their occupiers’ safety and security. Offices are even identified as one of the locations where viruses spread quickly in a matter of hours given the amount of time employees spend inside these shared spaces.
Designing a ‘healthy’ workplace should not only focus on disease prevention but should also upgrade the lifestyle and general wellness of its employees—facing a pandemic or not.