With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to be rolled back, the arrival of Mental Health Awareness Week this year is a timely one; for many of us, the last 12 months would have harmed our health and wellbeing in some way. As we look forward to a positive, brighter year, this week gives us all an opportunity to assess and understand the effect our everyday lives have on our mental health, including a return to work.

As an office design company, we have been working on a wide array of projects in the last year; all with the remit to make the workplace safe, not just physically, but mentally too. With many people working away from the office, it's understandable that they may feel anxious or ill-equipped to return.

So, in this blog, we're going to look at why health and wellbeing is important in the workplace going forwards – and how it can be shaped to attract people back and aid their working in the process.

Why is health and wellbeing important to consider in office design?

Put simply, creating spaces with wellness in mind can benefit both companies and employees. Shaping the office design towards the needs of its people can help to reduce sick days, assist with motivation, increase job satisfaction, and boost productivity. Employees can perform, grow, and enjoy their working days, which benefits both them and their employers.

If you think about a workplace that is catered around how an individual likes to work, it is more likely to make them feel comfortable, making their working days less stressful and thus, providing a more productive atmosphere.

Offices that offer this type of atmosphere are more likely to be in a position to attract and retain employees too – even before the pandemic, an increasing number of people were choosing the companies they worked for based on the quality of the office (due to it being a factor in helping them to perform in their new roles).

It is also important to consider that a year's worth of homeworking will have had a profound effect on how comfortable we are with the traditional workplace. Employees have grown used to having their creature comforts close to hand, and the transition back to the office will take some getting used to. So making the office an enjoyable place to be is not only beneficial for your employee's health and wellbeing, but your office design can give your business a post-COVID boost, if delivered correctly.

Creating a healthier workplace design

So where do you start if you're thinking about increasing the health and wellness aspect of your workplace? It doesn't have to involve on-site gyms, juice bars or meditation classes; even the simplest of changes can have a huge impact on the feelings produced in the office.

Here are our simple office design tips to create a healthier workplace:

  • Create areas in which staff can break away from their desks.
    Despite our best intentions, the work environment is often stressful; under these pressures we may struggle to perform, think, or carry out even the most basic of tasks. Instead of ruminating on all this, stuck in the same stressful environment that caused the issue in the first place, an area in which employees can take a break in can help us to relax, refocus the mind and meet with colleagues.
    Common 'break' areas in modern office design includes quiet zones (to work/recharge without distraction), informal meeting booths (to meet with others) and breakout spaces (for relaxing and recharging).
  • Install fresh air systems or make use of windows.
    Air circulation is especially important to think about in our post-COVID world, as any working HVAC system (or having enough openable windows) will ensure that fresh air flows around the office. Replacing a stuffy atmosphere doesn't just help to send airborne viruses on their way, but fresh air has a major effect on one's mood due to
    the increase of oxygen to the brain. As a result, staff are far more likely to feel more relaxed, increasing the positive energy throughout the workplace.

  • Increase natural light.
    A particular mood killer in any environment is the lighting;
    the same constant level of light can cause headaches and eye strain, leading to agitation, a decrease in cognitive thought and even depression. Therefore, it's always recommended that any building takes advantage of all windows and skylights to increase natural light. Specialist artificial lights, specifically LED lights, can mimic natural light – they have an expansive range of colours (as compared to more 'traditional' lightbulbs) and therefore, can be changed at will.
  • Use colours and nature in the décor.
    Neutral colours always run the risk of being dull and uninteresting; placing another mood killer around the office. Making use of a natural colour palette has been proven to reduce anxiety
    due to it acting as a reminder of the world outside; as creatures of nature, we're more likely to feel connected to the world outside if our indoor environment looks and feels like it. A great way to supplement this is the addition of potted plants and greenery around the office, as not only do they provide a natural and welcoming feel to the office, they can also reduce levels of CO2, dust and mould eliminating that 'stuffy' feeling that your office may have.

Those were some great ways in which to make your workplace a healthier one. If you're looking to improve the design of your office for this (or any other) reason, the Oaktree team are on hand to help you create your ideal workspace.

Grow a strong future for your workplace, with Oaktree Interiors

Here Oaktree Interiors, we are a vastly experienced workplace design and build company, having carried out hundreds of fit out, refurbishment and relocation projects across London and the South East of England.

As a result of our innovative approach, we have established a leading service that has helped many different types and sizes of businesses to better utilise their offices. If you've been thinking about improving your office interiors for the future, feel free to get in touch with us.

On our website, you'll be able to find additional information on our services; our case studies page contains many examples of the bespoke work we have carried out for our myriad of clients (presented in high-definition imagery and in-depth text).

To learn more about our office design service, give us a call on 034521 86955. Alternatively, you can send any e-mail enquiries to hello@oaktreeoffice.com and we'll get in touch as soon as possible.

Leave a Comment