Architecture and design are fundamental when it comes to creating workspaces for the well-being of workers. But why is there so much talk about these environments today? Because of their impact on our health.

When the pandemic arrived, workers already came with a backpack of health to improve, especially with deteriorated psychological health, according to the study “Intergenerational Health and Wellbeing in the workplace”, by the Generation & Talent Observatory, carried out in collaboration with the European University and Criteria Human Resources.

This report warns about the health of workers of different generations and shows that each generation experiences their health in a different way. For example, the great challenge facing the older generations (Generation T and Baby Boomer) is related to their emotional health. The younger generations are the most affected in their levels of anxiety, depression and uncertainty regarding their working conditions.

Cómo atraer al talento

A holistic view of health, the starting point for workspaces for wellbeing

Health is not only limited to the absence of physical illness or infirmity, but also includes emotional, mental and social well-being. That is why it is important for companies to promote healthy lifestyles and provide workspaces for wellbeing, taking into account all aspects of health, in a comprehensive and cross-cutting manner. When the challenge is to have healthier, more motivated and happier workers in their jobs, it is not enough to focus only on their physical health.

This holistic view of health also has a positive impact on companies’ talent attraction policies and employer branding. Not forgetting that improved employee wellbeing not only helps people to be healthier and reduce health costs, but also helps them to be more productive.

Occupational health is linked to the workspace

Occupational health is closely related to the working environment. Hence, the importance of designing workspaces for wellbeing. An office can be the cause of a person’s discomfort, or on the contrary, an important factor for health and motivation. And we are not only referring to its ergonomic and environmental conditions. For example, if an office facilitates the flexible working and work-life balance that today’s employees demand, or if it fosters cohesion, or if it integrates nature into their daily lives, to give three examples, it generates emotional well-being.

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Corporate wellbeing efforts are more visible in work environments specifically designed to enhance wellbeing. And so, more and more companies are taking into account the impact of the workspace on employee well-being and the company’s bottom line.

Indeed, improving employee wellbeing factors can boost business performance by up to 55%, according to Aon plc’s Global Wellbeing Survey 2022-2023. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said that wellbeing has become more important to their organisation since 2020, and just under half indicated that employee wellbeing has increased in priority over the same time period.

What do wellbeing workspaces look like?

Workspaces designed for wellbeing provide a range of different spaces for the different types of work that take place throughout the day. A mix of open and closed, individual and group, concentrated and collaborative, formal and informal spaces to offer people choice and give them the opportunity to find the right areas to do their work at any given time.

Workspaces bring together three conditioning factors: physiological, such as acoustic comfort, air quality and natural light; cognitive, to improve concentration; and social, which make it possible for us to relate to each other better.


The impact of furniture in workspaces on well-being

Renovating office furniture is a question of health, image and efficiency. Therefore, companies should think about replacing it when the furniture does not guarantee optimal health and safety conditions for their employees.

Inadequate furniture can be the cause of various occupational diseases. According to the study “Ergonomics in working environments”, by Ofita, which we have already discussed in various meetings, 24% of office workers point to the neck-shoulder area as the most affected, 19% to the eyes, 15% to the lower back, 9% to the head and 7% to the dorsal area.

In fact, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are one of the most common occupational disorders affecting millions of European workers in all sectors and cost billions of euros in lost productivity and increased health and social costs each year.

Oficinas con diseño biofílico

WELL, the accreditation of healthy offices

The concern of companies to have workspaces for wellbeing is leading more and more companies to opt for Well certification, the first certification focused exclusively on the health and comfort of users, which we talked about in this previous post.

Well certification recognises the relationship between buildings and their occupants by addressing seven key concepts related to human health in the environment: air, water, food, light, exercise, comfort and mind.