Wellness spaces at work
If people are keen to go into their workplace, half the productivity battle has been won. A great temptation you can add to your office design is a ‘wellness space’. Healthy and motivated employees who feel appreciated will always be the best version of themselves at work. Workplace design and fit-out company Evoke Projects looks at office wellness spaces and the companies that are taking advantage of them.
Types of office wellness space
Physical exercise and meditation spaces
Add a table tennis table, treadmill, yoga/meditation room, or schedule regular exercise classes in a meeting room. As well as dedicated physical exercise spaces, activity can be encouraged throughout the workday. Set a fun fitness challenge for each team. Have walking meetings outdoors, particularly for brainstorming. Stand up desks and printers that are not too conveniently situated within the office fit-out will reduce sedentary behaviour.
Biophilic design and access to nature
Who doesn’t feel refreshed hanging out with Mother Nature? There are so many workplace design opportunities to increase access to nature and improve health and well-being: courtyards, living walls, pot plants, opening windows to let in fresh air, natural light and water features.
There is some evidence that a daytime power nap improves workplace well-being by reinvigorating the brain and the body. A short 15-20 minute nap is an easy and effective way to boost alertness and productivity. A nap also improves mood, creativity, and learning. EnergyPod claims to have made the world’s first official office nap chair. It requires limited space and helps overcome dated stigma related to sleep. Link to https://metronaps.com/#energypod
Goodbye kitchen, hello cafeteria
Turn your office kitchen into a café! Clever workplace design can transform a functional looking kitchen into a funky café. Consider a central island bench with bar stools, a good quality coffee machine, pantry, large fridge, stylish light fittings and artwork. If you have the space, it can become a relaxing breakout area with sofas, charging points and a tv.
For workplace well-being, Tonya Dydahl writes in OnOffice magazine about the benefits of dedicated wellness rooms for new mothers to relax or express milk.1 She recommends scheduling software to guarantee privacy, curtains or dividers for multiple users, comfortable seating (like a recliner with easy-to-clean vinyl or polyurethane upholstery), cleaning supplies, waste disposal, adequate table space and locking storage compartments. The interior design should have inspiring and invigorating art that compliments a peaceful colour palette. Consider adding a bulletin board or magnetic board for photos of babies in a show of camaraderie with other new mothers.
If office space is limited, consider wellness products that can fit into a small area such as a massage chair or infrared sauna.
Mental health benefits
As well as the obvious health benefits, wellness spaces within the office fit-out deliver mental health benefits. Neuro-architecture is the science around our brain’s response to the built environment around us. The right mixture of colour, light and functionality can be calming, stimulating and everything in between. Medibank’s new HQ in Melbourne has wellness spaces and reported that four months after moving into the new HQ, a survey found that 70 per cent of respondents said they were healthier and 66 per cent reported they were more productive, while its call centre wing had seen a 5 per cent fall in absenteeism.2
Examples of wellness spaces at work
Kingston Lafferty Design – Dedicated wellness and focus rooms
Dublin interiors firm Kingston Lafferty Design has incorporated green walls, a yoga studio and rooftop terrace across the eight floors of their co-working office in the centre of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Called Urban HQ, the office fit-out includes private working booths, open offices and meeting rooms, dedicated wellness and focus rooms, co-working areas, coffee docks and a central lounge and event space that employees can move freely between. KLD founder Róisín Lafferty explains that the workplace design incorporates “tactile finishes through cork flooring and suspended planting combined with a mirror to fill the room with natural light – all proven to contribute to overall workplace wellbeing”.3
Google – Sleep pods and meditation chambers
Google has installed EnergyPods for power naps. The EnergyPod is powered by firmware developed around a simple principle: a 20-minute nap is beneficial for well-being and productivity. Google also has bunker-inspired meditation chambers that combine technology, light and sound to create a meditative effect.4,5
Epic Software – Treehouse
Staff in the Wisconsin HQ of healthcare software maker Epic can hold meetings in a treehouse conference room, located in the midst of black cherry trees and red pines.6
Medibank – Sports court and edible garden
Medibank’s new HQ in Melbourne includes a sports court, an edible garden and 2,300 indoor plants aimed at supporting productivity, engagement and collaboration.7
How to incorporate a wellness space in the office fit-out
The WELL Building Standard has guidelines to help businesses create spaces that enhance human health and well-being. Many of the concepts within WELL can be applied to wellness spaces: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind and Community.
The office fit-out team at Evoke Projects are ready to help you design and construct a wellness space. Please call us on 1300 720 692. Bring on wellness in 2022!