Designing for the Wellness-Savvy Workplace of the Future

Corporate wellness programs are evolving as companies realize just how much of their employees’ lives are spent at work. From happiness scales to financial health advisors and every facet of wellbeing in between, employers are open to new ideas that improve worker health, satisfaction and retention. Workplace design is integral to this new whole-person focus, as evidenced by a growing movement to meet Well Building Standards. It’s a movement in which workplace design and employee wellness are linked from the beginning, and the results can be both stunning and purposeful.

Extreme fitness focus: SRAM

SRAM is a bicycle-component manufacturer in Chicago. The innovative company converted a former meat-packing warehouse into a work space that allows bike commuters to ride directly into an elevator, then take a bike path to their desk. The company even provides a bike-washing station to keep it all clean.

Integrated cultural wellness

If SRAM’s approach to fitness design seems a little far-fetched for your company, consider integrating something that speaks to your organization’s wellness culture. Features like an indoor slide to encourage playfulness, a greenhouse to provide a link to nature, and even running trails and swimming pools can communicate and help foster a welcoming and health-supporting corporate culture. The key is promoting the health and happiness of the individual in a very visual and permanent way. Make work a place that invites community and creativity and watch your employee happiness metrics improve.

Modifications to encourage health

If big-picture design isn’t in the cards for your workplace, add smaller perks that speak to employee health and offer convenience. One of the most popular modifications is adding a virtual fitness kiosk that offers on-demand fitness classes. These can be short classes that provide guided stretching for a brain break, or high-intensity classes that get hearts pumping, and everything in between. The point is to encourage movement to alleviate stress and promote good health, and it can be as simple as starting with a small streaming kiosk in a seldom-used meeting room.