Interesting developments in sustainability and wellbeing are making their presence felt in modern offices around the world. Silvia Aranda, Design Operations Director, EMEA at Tétris, unpacks some of these trends.
Cultivating happiness is an important topic in the modern workplace. Knowing that an employer has a vested interest in its people’s wellbeing will have a positive impact on productivity and job satisfaction. So how do you create a healthy environment from a design perspective?
One way is to invest in quality furniture that responds to both an individual’s physical needs and the ability for employees to interact easily with one another – especially with the shift towards the office as a place for collaboration and connection.
Furniture should be multi-functional and mobile, including varying heights and types of furniture in to ensure that each individual feels comfortable and engaged. Mini desk stands are also useful to improve working posture and increase comfort at a desk. Or take it to the next level with a Bluetooth activated, height adjustable desk with sensor-driven technology that tells you when it’s time to move. The idea is that employers provide their people with the solutions to support wellness.
Purposeful Wi-Fi dead zones
In direct opposition to the always-on mentality, progressive companies are providing spaces in the office where the Wi-Fi does not work. Sending a message that it is okay to switch off, these spaces provide the opportunity to fully focus on the task at hand without multi-channel interruptions.
Imagine hosting a meeting where no one looks at their cell phone or quickly sends an email? This will become increasingly important with the rise of remote working and the need to fully focus when people come together at the office.
No longer an afterthought, carefully curated break-away areas are a key feature in the contemporary office. With open, public spaces a common part of the new world of work, providing a break out area is important to escape the bustle. These spaces could take the form of a meditation room with white noise and acoustic properties where employees can practice mindfulness, an on-site yoga studio as part of a wellness programme, or simply a private booth for calm and concentration.
The benefits of optimised lighting are big enough to justify the investment. Over and above the cost efficiencies, employee wellbeing, increased productivity and environmental gain are proven.
Led by our connection with nature, office spaces demand more natural and softer lighting. A big trend is adjustable lighting as a critical tool to influence concentration, mood and motivation. Lighting systems on a timer can adjust the brightness according to the time of day and boost energy levels. These timed lighting changes in office spaces are intended to mimic natural light changes throughout the day to stimulate our natural responses to light through our body’s normal hormonal reaction to this stimulus. The result is optimized concentration as well as recuperation. The degree of lighting also depends on the task at hand and must be controlled accordingly.
More than price, quality and functionality, this speaks to taking environmental, social and ethical factors into consideration when making a purchasing decision. It’s about sourcing furniture, fixtures and equipment sustainably.
LEED, BREEAM and WELL are global certification programmes that seek to assess responsible building standards. For example, LEED evaluates the environmental impact of a building while WELL assesses the built environment's contribution to the wellness of its occupants. Both measure sustainable purchasing as best practice.
We are seeing global companies with international workplace standards lead the way in their commitment to environmental advocacy and employee wellbeing. Increasingly, others are following suit, placing their employees and the planet at the centre of their operations.