13 June 2022
Curated by: Redazione IVM

Wellness office design

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Flexible, shared, adaptable, innovative – the office of the future places particular focus on the themes of well-being and personal productivity.

This is the new frontier of office design, which has become wellness-oriented, paving the way for new models of design that aim to promote what is known as organisational well-being.

In this light, the office moves beyond its traditional boundaries, becoming a place of involvement and collaboration, in which design represents one of the main drivers in stimulating satisfaction and increasing people’s loyalty.

A study published in 2022 in International Scholarly and Scientific Research & Innovation highlights how office design has a substantial effect on the well-being, behaviour, perception and productivity of employees.

These themes are ever-increasingly important for organisations, to the extent that in some countries, “well-being” is becoming a way to assess the quality and the performance of offices.

In Japan, The Institute of Building Environment and Energy Conservation (IBEC) has recently established the CASBEE-Wellness Office assessment system, which certifies offices designed to stimulate the productivity and well-being of employees.

Illumination, acoustics, ergonomics, technology and sustainability are some of the factors in office layout that are taken into consideration. The challenge for architects, designers and planners consists in understanding all the aspects that form part of office life and the creation of formal and informal environments that respond to people’s needs.

 

Light comfort

Illumination is a fundamental element in spaces, and radically changes our approach to our surroundings, profoundly affecting our very perception of well-being. This is why a reasoned and aware use of light can contribute to improving concentration, safety and efficiency in the workplace.

This theory has been confirmed by research carried out by Cornell University, which has discovered that the optimisation of natural light in an office significantly improves the health and well-being of workers. It has emerged that people placed in environments with natural lighting saw a 51% reduction in visual fatigue, a 63% reduction in headaches and a 56% reduction in sleepiness.

 

Acoustic comfort

Well-being in the office also depends on a suitable level of acoustic comfort.

Various international studies have demonstrated a direct relationship between acoustics and well-being among workers. The Norwegian association for the Hard of Hearing – HLF, for example, has highlighted how noise in offices can reduce performance by up to 65%.

“Well-being” offices must therefore also incorporate solutions to guarantee suitable acoustic comfort and the right levels of privacy in working environments that are increasingly shared spaces.

 

Technology solutions

Technology also has a profound impact on employee well-being.

In this blog, we have often stressed the importance of the role that technology plays in designing work areas, speaking, for example, of the role of IoT in configuring and organising space.

Simplification, optimisation and connection; in this scenario, offices are smart, dynamic and technologically advanced, ready to respond to workers needs with the right touch of style.

 

Spaces for breaks

Offices have evolved, embracing the “active design” approach, with which architects, designers and planners aim to construct “open” spaces that encourage movement and relations.

It is a solution that has an impact on both the physical and mental well-being of employees. This is an important theme considering that we spend 60-70% of our lives at work (Center for Workplace Mental Health).

 

Natural and environmental elements

A strong natural presence within the office layout is one of the main current trends, so much so that there is an emergence of new systems for evaluating offices, which measure the standards of biophilic design for health and well-being in the workplace.

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These are just some of the themes to bear in mind when designing a workspace.

They are points of view that highlight a growing necessity to connect office layout to the needs, the modes of collaboration and the activities of workers. Only when a connection is established between the layout of an office and the working models of its occupants can a tangible increase in productivity be seen.

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