Wellbeing or wellness is hot right now. Its the latest buzzword, taking over from mindfulness, or is it the other way around?
But what is wellbeing and in the context of workplace design why does it matter?
Wellbeing is all about feeling good within yourself, feeling whole, nourished and energetic.
We do so much externally to give us a sense of wellbeing. Perhaps you go to the gym, or do yoga, or meditate or do all three. For you a sense of wellbeing may arise when spending time with friends or family. For some it will be carving out time to be alone that gives you what you need to find your balance in today’s busy world.
Companies now have health, safety and wellbeing roles and are starting to take a more holistic view of staff wellbeing.
All of this looks from the outside in.
What about if we flip it and look from the inside out?
The spaces we inhabit, be they at work or at home have a profound effect on our wellbeing by impacting our physiology.
Spend a day in an office with no natural light or views and see how you feel compared to a day at home with a desk facing the garden.
Spend a day in a busy office where no one speaks to you or acknowledges your presence compared to a night out with friends and compare notes.
Creating workplaces that elevate wellbeing is about creating spaces that encourage connection and provide a nurturing environment. This could be by ensuring people have access to daylight or introducing nature using Biophilic design principles. It might be by creating spaces where people can relax, recharge, energise and be open to connection. Or acknowledging that creativity for some people requires focus and quiet whilst for others it’s all about collaboration.
A company’s culture contributes to staff wellbeing too. If its expected that everyone do long hours consistently then the chances of them pausing long enough to get to know their colleagues or take a break to recharge lessens.
Ask yourself , do you feel better when you leave work than when you arrive? Much the same or less energised? Do you think that’s a ridiculous question? If you do perhaps it’s time to take a look around and see what you could do to improve your wellbeing. It could be decluttering your desk, or bringing a plant in, or you could go further and reorient your teams desks so that it’s easier to connect. Can you carve out a niche somewhere for chilling out and taking a breather?
If you aren’t able or don’t think you can influence your workspace, talk to someone who can.
By connecting and creating community we thrive.