Does my Office need a Wellness Room?
Promoting wellbeing in the workplace involves creating an environment and implementing strategies that prioritize and support the physical, mental, and emotional health of employees. With mental health in the workplace being one of the biggest contributors to absenteeism and long-term sickness, beyond being the right thing to do to look after your people, it makes business sense to invest in your employees’ wellbeing.
A recent report from the HSE found that In 2021/2022, there were 1.8 million workers suffering from a work-related illness, and of these workers, 914,000 were suffering from work-related stress, depression, or anxiety. Also, a recent survey from Deloitte found that the total annual cost of poor mental health to employers has increased by 25% since 2019, costing UK employers up to £56 billion a year.
Offices that are designed with employee health and wellbeing in mind contribute to improving employee retention, decreasing absenteeism, and increasing productivity. One emerging element in this area in relation to office design is the inclusion of a wellness room.
What is a Wellness Room?
A wellness room, also known as a wellness space, is a designated area designed to promote physical and mental wellbeing among employees. Wellness rooms can be multipurpose, catering to a variety of needs of employees within a workforce. The rooms or spaces can provide employees with a quiet, comfortable, and private space where they can engage in activities that support their overall health and wellbeing by encouraging relaxation. It can also be designed to facilitate religious activities such as prayer time, physical activity such as fitness classes or yoga, and provide working mothers with a quiet, private space to support breastfeeding etc.
Wellness Room Design:
In recent years, the demand for wellness rooms has grown substantially as nurturing mental health in the workplace has become a key objective for employers to support and retain a happy workforce.
The design of an office wellness room will depend on several factors to ensure it sufficiently meets the needs of each workforce. Over recent years Calibro has installed a number of wellness rooms in offices across Ireland which vary in shape, size, and purpose. Here are a few different styles of wellness rooms that can be created to support employee wellbeing:
Meditation and Relaxation Room:
Meditation and relaxation rooms are created using soft lighting, calming colour schemes, and natural elements, including plants and flowers, to create a soothing atmosphere and are often soundproofed to block out noise from the surrounding work areas. Comfortable seating with meditation cushions or mats for mindfulness and meditation sessions may be included, along with technology to support guided meditation or relaxation sessions on screens and audio.
Wellness libraries offer a tranquil haven, complete with shelves stocked with books of a variety of topics including mental health, stress reduction, and personal development, accompanied by cosy seating arrangements featuring comfortable chairs or bean bags for moments of reading and self-reflection. Additionally, these spaces provide a whiteboard or chalkboard where employees can record positive affirmations and insights to enhance their wellbeing.
Sensory rooms are extremely popular, particularly with the increase in neurodiversity within workforces. According to a recent report it is estimated that 1 in 7 employees in the UK are neurodivergent, meaning that their brain functions, learns, and processes information differently.
Multisensory rooms use soft textures and tactile elements designed to engage the senses. The use of soothing LED colour-changing lights that offer a diverse range of lighting options can help create a calming visual ambiance and enable employees to relax and disconnect from the busy office environment. These specialist rooms also use a curated auditory environment that uses soundscapes to assist with relaxation and meditation. A selection of sensory toys and tools such as stress balls, fidget spinners, and kinetic sand can also be found in sensory rooms to further promote relaxation techniques.
Yoga and stretching spaces have become a popular addition to the workplace. This type of room is equipped with items such as Yoga mats, resistance bands, and props for yoga and stretching exercises and is normally mirrored to ensure participants can check for proper form and alignment whilst participating in sessions, to reduce the risk of injury. Adjustable lighting is often used to set the mood for different types of workouts and rooms are usually fitted with high-quality acoustics and speaker systems for playing calming and relaxation music during sessions.
Breathing and Mindfulness Corner:
A breathing and mindfulness corner is one of the most common wellness rooms included in office wellbeing design as it can be a flexible space with multiple purposes. Mindfulness corners usually include comfortable seating such as meditation cushions or rocking chairs to enable the employee to relax in a comfortable space. Breathing exercises may be advertised via posters or booklets and calming scents such as lavender or eucalyptus can be used in oil diffusers to create a pleasant aroma, creating a tranquil space for employees to disconnect and relax, breathe, and think, away from their desks.
Does your office need a wellness room?
These are just a few examples of how companies can design wellness rooms to cater to different aspects of employee wellbeing, from meditation and relaxation to physical activity and creative expression. Creating a wellness room for your organization is a unique process and the key is to create a space that aligns with your company’s culture and the specific needs and preferences of your employees, fostering a supportive environment. Consulting the needs and thoughts of your employees during the design process can prove invaluable to creating a meaningful and useful space that positively impacts employees overall mental and physical health.
If you are interested in discussing an office design project to support your employee wellbeing, get in touch with our team today.