Employee Mental Health, Wellbeing and Workplace Design

A happy employee is a productive employee - workplace wellbeing and Mental Health

Did you know that your workplace design could inadvertently help towards improving well-being and fostering positive mental health!

As it is #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek lets celebrate ways in which good office interior design can have a positive effect on our mental health.

A Happy Workforce is a Productive one

There is a big difference between getting someone to show up for work and inspiring people to give their best!

Research shows that employers can have an influence on an individual’s sense of wellbeing and productivity in the way they run a workplace, from giving employees job security, opportunities to develop skills and job flexibility to name a few – providing the tools and the environment for mentally healthy minds so that we, as individuals have the strength to overcome difficulties and pressures we may encounter.

Below are a few tips and links to some of our previous blogs, all in some form or another touching on ways to have a positive effect on employee wellbeing, that can not only help to boost employee productivity but can help reduce common mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, stress and fatigue.

NOUN  The state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.
welfare, health, good health, happiness, comfort, security, safety, protection, prosperity, profit, good, success, fortune, good fortune, advantage, interest, prosperousness, successfulness

How to improve workplace wellness & mental health with office design?

Adding water features, living wall plants, ping pong tables, lunchtime yoga and feature art isn’t just about interior designers and showiness, but because if we consider the whole person we realise as human beings we need to feel a connection to nature, which provides a feeling of happiness and contentment.

Office design trends such as Activity Based Working, Biophilic Design etc look to create not only physical environments but build a workplace culture where employees feel valued and safe.


Office design isn’t just about walls and furniture, it’s about creating an environment to suit your company culture and work ethics. Providing a space fit for purpose to ensure employees are happy and feeling valued, which equally translates into creativity, productivity, and loyalty… especially in a world where ‘a job for life’ isn’t the case anymore and it’s common for the younger generation to job hop to further and develop their career. Making it even more important to create a working environment to attract, inspire and retain talent. https://www.novexsolutions.co.uk/inspiration/modern-office-design-works-well-employee-engagement/


When re-designing an office consider the impact on your employees. Change can be stressful and unsettling. A good way to keep employees feeling valued and relaxed during any refurbishment or relocation projects is to keep them up-to-date with project developments. You could even take it one step further and get them involved in a workplace survey to understand your employee’s individual needs and wants from a new office. https://www.novexsolutions.co.uk/inspiration/top-tips-for-a-stress-free-office-move-or-refurbishment/

Promote Activity

Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. It doesn’t need to be an intense workout to achieve workplace wellbeing, simply encouraging employees to move around the office can promote social interaction as well as providing the necessary breaks away from the computer screen.

A lovely story we were told by furniture manufacturer Orangebox, was that when they moved into their four-floor showroom in Clerkenwell, they gave each member of staff a stepper counter and decorated the stairwells with graphics highlighting the benefits of exercise, in order to encourage employees to take the stairs instead of the lift.

Other ways to encourage movement in office design could include: 

  • Creating central service areas, so employees must walk to collect printed documents
  • Breakout spaces –mulit-functional, shared spaces to encouraging cohesiveness as well as providing suitable rest areas or areas of refuge, a place to take your mind away from work with a game of pool or table tennis. A chance to connect with colleagues you may not talk to through work, encouraging social

A well-designed office space with breakout areas can influence how employees perceive they are treated and valued. It can help them feel refreshed and rejuvenated so that they can return to their work with a renewed sense of energy and purpose.

  • Sit/stand workstations, either for individual use, or a drop in / hot desks for employees to choose to work at depending on their mood or activity they are doing that day. (subject to individual business working needs)

Introduce Biophilic design elements

Biophilic Design is much more than the addition of a pot plant to the office environment. Although, this is a very good place and has been proven to have a positive effect on increased productivity.

“Empirical studies have reported that experiences of natural environments provide greater emotional restoration, with lower instances of tension, anxiety, anger, fatigue, confusion and total mood disturbance than urban environments with limited characteristics of nature”
’14 Patterns of Biophilic Design’ report.

Check out our blog on introducing Biophilic Design into your office: https://www.novexsolutions.co.uk/news/bringing-the-outdoors-in-with-biophilic-design/

Other useful links:

Top tips for staying well at work http://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-yourself/tips-for-employees/

The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge & Prince Harry are trying to break the stigma around mental health issues through their #HeadsTogether campaign. A campaign that aims to change the national conversation on mental health and wellbeing. https://www.headstogether.org.uk/

World Green Building Council
Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices: The Next Chapter for Green Building




Case Studies

  • warehouse fit-out
  • office interior design of a reception counter with with fabric snowflake screen

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