First, in a three-part series on designing for wellbeing, Rosie Haslem, Director at spacelab_, shares why collaboration transforms employee wellbeing
What sort of workplaces should we be creating to support physical wellbeing and mental health? This was the topic of conversation in the ‘Health Workers’ panel discussion I spoke at (chaired by OnOffice’s Editor), as part of January’s Architect@Work digital summit.
As Director of research and strategy at spacelab_, a design and architecture studio with a research-driven, human-focussed approach to creating spaces, my work is all about understanding what people want and need, in order to design the very best space for them – and of course for their health.
So, at a time when so many are rethinking what the future of work looks like, what are the key elements to consider when creating workplaces that will support people’s physical and mental wellbeing?
For the first in our three-part series, I’d like to focus on collaboration. During the first lockdown, spacelab_ carried out a nationwide survey exploring the experience of working from home through the pandemic, and how and where people wanted to work in the future.
The clearest headline from the survey was that although people had on the whole settled into working from home – and many were enjoying it – collaboration was both the biggest challenge they were facing, and the thing they were missing most from the office.
We are social creatures. We thrive on being together. And very often our work thrives on us working together. Technology has been critical in supporting communication and collaboration throughout the pandemic, but for so many, online collaboration is no match for physically being together – and working together.
Going forward, we need to ensure that people are supported and enabled to do their very best work. So we need to design workplaces in a way that gives people the spaces they need to do the things they can’t do so well from home – and spaces for collaboration will be top of the list.
Image by Henry Woide