Workspace and Well-Being: How Space Affects Employee Health

Kaitlin Enneking
March 28, 2017


It’s no secret that our physical environment impacts our mood and physical well-being. We walk less when there aren’t sidewalks or paths, we eat out more when we don’t have access to refrigerators or break rooms, and we feel less motivated when our surroundings are boring and uninviting.

Your space is powerful

The simple connection between our surrounding spaces and our health is powerful. So, it’s not surprising that a continued trend in 2017 is focusing on physical space to create workplace cultures with happy, healthy, and engaged employees.

Most employers don’t have a complete office remodel in their budget, and that’s okay. Creating an environment where employees can flourish doesn’t have to break the bank and can easily be implemented with the right know-how. Take a look at how some employers have changed their workspaces in simple ways for large impacts on employee well-being:

Make moves to improve your space

Clean up It may seem obvious, but employees don’t want to spend more time than necessary in grimy workspaces. They are also less likely to bring in food or have lunch on site if they think the space is dirty. Inspect your areas to ensure you aren’t encouraging employees to eat lunch out, impacting their wallets and their waists.

  1. Declutter. A cluttered workspace can cause stress, so keep areas clean and tidy. This extends beyond the desks of your employees—evaluate break rooms, bulletin boards, and hallways. Eliminate signage, décor, and supplies that aren’t needed or don’t serve a purpose.

  2. Add some color. While we may not all agree on our favorite color, science tells us that certain colors can improve productivity and impact mood.Instead of painting every wall your favorite shade of gray, evaluate the activities in which your workforce is involved and research what colors would best support them. Also consider utilizing pops of color throughout the workspace to energize your workforce.

  3. Landscape. Employees are less likely to walk outside or take a break for fresh air if you don’t have an inviting exterior. Consider adding landscaping, picnic tables, or walking paths to your property.

  4. Open the windows. Natural light improves mood and relieves stress. Consider updating window coverings to let in more natural light; if your space doesn’t have windows, update your lighting to mimic natural sunlight.

  5. Make soft spaces. Social connectedness is important for the emotional well-being of employees. Having spaces where employees can connect for both work and fun is important in helping forge friendships. Update meeting spaces or empty alcoves to serve as collaboration stations.

Ready to enhance your physical workspace? Keep these six space improvements as inspiration and take time to make it happen! Because happy and comfortable employees are efficient and successful employees.

Need more inspiration? Take a look at our guest blogger and RESOLVE 2017 breakout session speaker, Matt Waggoner of JLL, in his post Trends in Office Space: More than Four Walls.