Blog: Quick wins for improved wellbeing in an office environment

11th May 2017

It’s well known that a healthy and happy workforce is a productive workforce and recent trends in office design have focused on ensuring the wellbeing of office workers for this reason. The WELL Building Standard, recently introduced from the USA, for example, considers the operational aspects of office premises as well as office buildings themselves.

It is not always practical, or realistic, to fully implement everything the WELL standards require, but there are several ‘quick wins’ that can improve the workspace environment. At Pozzoni Architecture we have recently undertaken the following:

  • Biophilia: i.e. more plants!: Indoor plants can absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, improving air quality. They also help to soften the hard edges of a workplace, like desks, computers and filing cabinets. Staff take ownership of their own plants with responsibilities for watering and feeding.
  • Natural light: We recently replaced our outdated and bulky window blinds with lighter-coloured, semi-translucent roller blinds. A larger area of glass is now revealed and the new blinds allow daylight through while reducing glare and solar gain. UV light from sunlight generates the production of Vitamin D and elevates levels of serotonin, which manifests itself as improved wellbeing in individuals.
  • Social space: At Pozzoni’s head office we have created a small cafe area in our reception with a table, high chairs, a coffee machine and library bookshelves. In addition to its use for informal meetings, our staff enjoy a coffee break here, with the opportunity to chat to each other. We’ve also installed a large table, chairs and microwave in our kitchen, encouraging staff to eat together at lunchtime and to take a break away from their desks.
  • Active lifestyle: The benefits of exercise are well documented. Pozzoni has implemented the ‘cycle to work’ scheme, with a dedicated cycle parking area, there is a shower and we have just started a weekly fitness ‘boot camp’. As a keen runner myself I have always found myself more awake and alert in the afternoon following a half-hour lunchtime run.

In today’s workplace, cumulative pressures and information overload can have a detrimental effect on health and wellbeing. Small steps, such as those above, can go a long way to engendering a happy, healthy and productive workforce.

May 11th — 2017