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How office design affects employee wellbeing

While factors like work-life balance, job satisfaction and supportive management are vital in nurturing a healthy workforce, office space design can transform the employee experience.

A modern office is more than just a physical space – it’s an ecosystem designed to support and empower individuals, teams and organisations.

people working in flexible workspace Miro, Amsterdam

With our team of workplace wellness design experts, we understand the importance of creating intelligent office environments to support employee wellbeing and business performance. This article explores the intricate relationship between physical space and employee wellbeing, serving as a guide for office interior design ideas.

Why employee wellbeing matters more than ever

In today’s fast-paced and competitive landscape, organisations recognise that the wellbeing of their employees is crucial to their success. Here’s why office design for employee wellbeing is a key topic:

  • Increased productivity: When employees are physically and mentally healthy, they can perform at their best, resulting in higher productivity levels and quality of work.
  • Enhanced engagement: Wellbeing initiatives show that a company cares about its employees, encouraging loyalty, commitment and engagement.
  • Reduced absenteeism and turnover: By prioritising employee wellbeing, companies can decrease absenteeism and turnover rates, saving on recruitment and training costs.
  • Improved morale and teamwork: Employees who feel valued and supported are more likely to collaborate effectively, boosting morale and creating a positive work environment.
person on phone call in booth XTX, Paris
people at workplace bar Personio, Amsterdam

The power of workplace design

A well-designed modern office space can have a profound impact on employee wellbeing. Here are some key ways office design layout can contribute to a healthier and happier workforce:

Natural light and biophilic design

  • Incorporating large windows and atria to maximise natural light exposure.
  • Positioning workstations near windows to allow access to daylight.
  • Balancing natural light with adjustable lighting for different moods, settings and times of day.
  • Introducing indoor plants and greenery into an office design layout helps create a calming atmosphere.
  • Creating outdoor spaces or gardens where employees can take breaks and reconnect with nature.

Ergonomic furniture and layout

  • Providing adjustable desks and chairs to support good posture and prevent discomfort enhances the employee experience.
  • Designing the office space with ergonomic accessories such as keyboard trays and monitor stands.
  • Incorporating sit-stand workstations to promote movement.
  • Ensuring proper spacing and layout to avoid overcrowding and enable smooth circulation.
people working at low booth seating area Tipalti, Vancouver

Noise reduction and acoustic design

  • In office design, installing sound-absorbing panels or acoustic materials on walls and ceilings to minimise noise levels.
  • Using noise-cancelling technologies or white noise systems to mask distracting sounds.
  • Developing separate areas for quiet work or private conversations to reduce disruption.
  • In office design and build, it’s vital to incorporate soundproof meeting rooms and phone booths for confidential discussions.

Flexible and agile workspaces

  • Creating open-plan areas with modular furniture that can be easily reconfigured for different team sizes and activities.
  • Designing collaborative zones with comfortable seating and interactive tools for teamwork and idea sharing.
  • Establishing quiet zones or designated areas for focused work and individual concentration.
  • Providing breakout rooms or informal meeting spaces for impromptu discussions and ideation.

Wellness rooms and amenities

  • Modern offices offer dedicated wellness rooms for relaxation, meditation or yoga.
  • Incorporating fitness areas, game rooms or recreational spaces to encourage physical activity and stress relief.
  • Offering nursing rooms or quiet spaces for employees with specific needs, such as new parents or individuals requiring privacy.
person working in workspace with views DNB, New York

Inclusive design

  • Creating an accessible office layout and furniture for employees with mobility challenges or disabilities.
  • Providing adjustable height desks, wheelchair ramps and wider doorways to accommodate diverse needs.
  • Ensuring the appropriate height for lockers and kitchen shelves, as well as providing accessible sinks in common areas.
  • Creating aesthetics that encourage a sense of belonging and community – from local artist murals to a connected brand experience.
  • Incorporating inclusive design principles to create a welcoming environment for all employees.

Air quality

  • Air quality standards for volatile substances, particulate matter, inorganic gases and radon.
  • Smoking ban (indoor and outdoor).
  • Effective ventilation – design, demand-controlled and system balancing.
  • Reducing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
  • Air filtration and advanced air purification.
  • Construction pollution management.
  • Healthy entrances. For example, entry-walk off systems such as mats to capture dirt and debris from shoes or air sealing to prevent drafts and outdoor air contaminants.
  • Cleaning protocol and pesticide management.
  • Material safety, including toxic material reduction.
  • Moisture management & humidity control.
  • Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) management plan to protect ductwork during construction.
  • Increased, demand-controlled and displacement ventilation.
  • Air quality monitoring & feedback, plus operable windows.
  • Reducing fire hazards and combustion risks to minimise indoor air pollution.

Water quality

  • Testing for and remove inorganic (metals), agricultural and biological (pathogenic) contaminants.
  • Managing high levels of public water additives such as chlorine and chloramine.
  • Periodic water quality testing.
  • Water treatment.
  • Providing easy access to drinking water.
people working on outdoor terrace Peak Re, Hong Kong

As workplace designers, we’re dedicated to creating employee-centric modern offices that prioritise wellbeing, productivity and innovation. With our deep expertise and passion for creating transformative office environments, here’s how we can support your organisation:

Customised approach to office wellbeing

    • We understand that every organisation is unique, with its own culture, goals and challenges. Our team works closely with you to develop a customised approach tailored to your needs.
    • Through in-depth analysis, we gain insights into your business objectives, employee preferences and work processes, ensuring that our design solutions align with your goals and enhance employee wellbeing.

Integrated employee experience

    • We understand that workplace design goes beyond physical spaces. We aim to create an ecosystem that nurtures the wellbeing of your employees through office design and build.
    • From designing areas for relaxation and socialising to incorporating wellness initiatives, we strive to create work environments where employees can thrive, be inspired and feel supported.

Global expertise and local insight

    • With global presence and extensive experience in diverse industries, M Moser brings a breadth of knowledge and insights to every project.
    • We combine our global expertise with a deep understanding of local cultures, regulations and best practices, ensuring our design solutions are tailored to your location.
people working in adaptable living lab M Moser, New York

The impact of office design on employee wellbeing is undeniable. Creating an environment that nurtures physical health, mental wellbeing and sparks innovation is pivotal to a thriving workforce.

As workplace wellness and design experts, we combine a comprehensive approach with plenty of office design ideas and solutions. We can help ensure your space supports wellbeing and engagement while driving productivity. For more information, please contact our team.

Samantha Allen

Associate Director

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