Prioritising wellbeing in the workspace, along with optimised office space, enhances the productivity of employees and businesses.
Mental health and wellbeing support is needed more than ever. A recent YouGov survey showed 37 per cent of employees in the UK are suffering worse mental health now compared to pre-Covid levels. The same survey found work had a big impact on mental health figures, where 66 per cent of respondents attributed worsening mental health to their work life, and 28 per cent believing their employer is currently not doing enough to safeguard their mental health. According to Westfield Health, mental health-related workplace absenteeism cost the UK economy £14 billion in 2020.
Employers now have even more of a duty to ensure their workers are supported in their wellbeing and mental health. More and more businesses are recognising this and are actively responding through a number of initiatives, one of which is how they select and tailor their office spaces. According to a survey by Cushman & Wakefield, best-in-class space with strong sustainability credentials and a focus on health and wellbeing is at the top of corporate occupiers’ agendas when searching for new space.
People do their best work when they feel their best, so it’s no wonder that businesses are seeking buildings designed and managed to nurture their staff.
Workspaces must consider exact details for lighting, air quality and sound design. Fora’s buildings receive more fresh air than the majority of Grade A commercial office spaces in London and the UK, while best-in-class ventilation draws in 100 per cent outside air. This is complemented by abundant natural light in common areas, meeting rooms and office spaces, helping to clear heads and calm minds. Fora also runs a comprehensive wellness programme which includes approaches such as floatation tanks and personal training sessions and has installed innovative urban farms that grow fresh produce for our community.
Office environments are forever evolving, but never before have we been so aware of the need for a new approach to the workplace. With different businesses working in different ways to collaborate, present, focus and entertain, we have created Tailored Office – a tool for businesses to optimise their workspace through the analysis of current usage. Tailored design amplifies a workspace as a powerful asset, enabling the team working in the space to feel and produce their best.
The combination of bespoke spaces and wellbeing support has seen rapid growth. Unmind, a workplace mental health platform, has recently revisited their workspace to make it more appealing to employees. After working from home for an extended period during lockdown, the importance of an engaging and collaborative working environment became increasingly evident.
Unmind worked with Fora using its Tailored Office service to create a workspace influenced by the needs and requests of Unmind’s employees. New floorplans were created which showcased beautiful spaces for Unmind’s employees to collaborate, be creative and engage whilst feeling motivated, happy and boosting their productivity.
Bespoke fixtures and furnishings contribute to the welcoming atmosphere and reflect Unmind’s progressive culture and values. And beyond the physical space, analysis of office usage provides ongoing insight into how the business can evolve their workspace to maximise productivity.
“It is so important for everyone at Unmind to maintain healthy work-life balances as part of their mental health wellbeing,” says Sarah Magerston, Senior Operations Lead at Unmind. “Fora’s Tailored Office tool allows us to create a space that people enjoy working in, so they are happy to come to work.”
“We believe that the Tailored Office offers real solutions for people to engage in creative and collaborative work, teamwork and presenting – all the things that are so much harder to do when working at home. Our office is a place where people can truly be happy and somewhere they want to be rather than somewhere they have to be.”
The impact of interior design and layout on employees’ wellbeing is clear. Our creation of the Tailored Office means we can deliver something bespoke for every resident, and more and more companies are following Unmind’s lead. By dissecting the needs of employers and employees, we shape working spaces to optimise productivity and creativity in a place where people feel supported.
By Katrina Larkin, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Fora