Before COVID-19 took hold of the UK, the idea of creating a workplace that contributes to employee wellbeing was gaining momentum. With mounting evidence showing that wellbeing and productivity are linked, companies were investing in spaces that benefitted employees’ mental and physical health.
A 2020 report by Deloitte showed that every £1 invested in workplace initiatives to improve wellbeing will potentially yield a £5 return in benefits. It also showed that productivity could improve by up to 12 per cent when mental health is improved in the workplace.
Throughout the pandemic, a wealth of data has been gathered relating to how employees feel about the future. There have also been some interesting developments and here Rap Interiors give their opinion on what the future might bring to the office interior design world…
Despite some employees struggling to adapt to home working, a survey by BCO suggests that most hope to divide their time between their home and their workplaces in future, pointing towards a hybrid working model.
It may even be the case that the office will provide a “heightened” experience as a way of encouraging employees to come into work more often:
- spaces for meditation and mindfulness
- trendy areas for group events with bars and bleacher seating
- facilities for exercise
More input from employees
Over the course of the pandemic, Mind has been encouraging employers to “check in” on employees on a regular basis and request feedback when workplace design, culture and conditions are driving poor mental health.
Rather than leaders predicting or assuming what is best for employee wellbeing, employees will be able to communicate what they need to be happy, comfortable and productive. This will proactively ensure workplace design will drive positive wellbeing outcomes.
Workplace interiors that encourage better physical health
According to figures published on 8 October 2020, 39% of people reported to walk more and 38% reported to cycle more than before the outbreak of the pandemic. Looking forward, 94% said it was likely that they would continue to cycle and walk more once travel restrictions were removed.
Here are some solutions to make the office a healthier environment:
- Bike storage
- On-site gyms
- Height-adjustable desks
- Office plants
- Living walls
Cleaner air and better buildings
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), evidence suggests that we are more likely to contract coronavirus indoors due to harmful droplets getting trapped in enclosed spaces. A recent survey by Remark Group, for example, showed that 80% of employees think that poor indoor air quality could be having a negative impact on their health.
Therefore, expect to see businesses taking these steps to improve indoor air quality prior to employees returning to the office:
- introducing technology to measure air quality
- installing better ventilation systems
- cleaning air ducts on a regular basis
- building certification schemes such as FitWell