BusinessHolistic Employee Well-being: Moving Beyond Ergonomics in Office Design

Holistic Employee Well-being: Moving Beyond Ergonomics in Office Design

The environment in the workplace impacts holistic employee well-being. The office designs, interior, office furniture, communication and social interactions are some of the factors that affect the employee’s well-being and overall effective work-life balance. Holistic well-being accommodates more than the ergonomics in office design and considers the whole person, mind and spirit of the employee.

Holistic employee well-being focuses on physical, mental and lifestyle approaches which help in understanding the illness, the root cause of the symptoms and workplace stressors. Talking about ergonomics, these principles concern the interactions between humans and other elements of a workstation. Ergonomics applies theory, principles, data and methods to design to optimize human well-being and overall system performance. Moving beyond ergonomics in office design to a holistic approach is a great way to build happier teams, promote a better work-life balance, and improve employee engagement and productivity.

Tips to Design Offices for Holistic Wellbeing

The environment of the office should modify the design to fit the worker, not the other way around. The main goal is to eliminate discomfort, and risk of injury due to work and to bring a supportive & positive organisational culture. In other words, employee well-being should be the first priority in analyzing a workstation. Office designers can even take suggestions from Office Interior Designer in Hyderabad

 for a creative holistic workspace for employee well-being. Here are some tips for office designers, to create an environment that fosters creativity, motivation & concentration, focusing on the holistic employee well-being:

  • Creating a Natural Environment Through Biophilic Design 

Integrating plants and elements of wood, stone and other natural materials, as well as designs, colours, textures and patterns inspired by nature, which can contribute to the ‘natural’ feel, are known as biophilic design. These nature-like designs aim to create environments that enhance employee performance and employee well-being. Natural smells make an environment feel more comfortable, less stress-inducing, or more energising.

  • Allowing natural light to enter 

Natural light in a workspace is shown to be very beneficial for employee well-being as it brings positivity and comfort. Designing large windows, skylights and other openings to allow natural light to enter the space is ideal for big offices, but not always practical for every office. Artificial lighting having a range of colour temperatures such as circadian lights which mimic the natural light in the course of the day can help an employee to keep in rhythm with the natural world and their own body clock.

  • Adding Personalised Experiences

An employee’s experience consists of the journey in an organisation, including everything they do & learn during the employee lifecycle and where they usually sit. Office furniture and layout should be adaptable. It should consider mobile tables, adjustable seating, and accessible work tools for its employees. Empowering employees with autonomy over their immediate environment enhances their overall experience and fosters engagement in work.

  • Incorporating Artificial and Natural Air-filters in Office Designs

One of the ways to improve the office environment and foster the physical well-being of employees is by adding air filters and natural air cleaners in office designs. These air-quality improvements help to create a healthy and safe office by cleaning dust or other pollutants. It also helps with ventilation, especially in small and compact offices. Natural air cleansers could include plant-based wall designs and integrating plants as part of office decorations.

  • Consider measurement and freedom of movement

How do we sit and for how long do we sit in the office? Liberating the employees for movement and adjustment to their sedentary life can help in good physical health. Arranging workplaces, products and systems so that they fit the people who use them is essential. Sitting positions, freedom to change postures and space to relax impact employee well-being: physical, mental and ability to perform productively.

  • Adjustable Screens and Desks

Modern office layouts with height-adjustable desks, standing desks and adjustable computer screens can help employees modify the structure as per their convenience for maximum productivity, comfort and more efficient work. It is essential to have seating that can be easily retrofitted to either a higher or lower chair cylinder. The chair itself should have a seat pan that can accommodate different leg lengths. Equipping your employees with new technology can also help in better productivity and an efficient work environment.

  • Noise- Absorb, Block and Cover

Noise from the street or office can be disturbing for employees. Loud noise also causes stress and impacts employee well-being. Techniques such as noise-friendly flooring, Dedicated Quiet Space, Sound-Friendly Furniture, Acoustic Wall Panels, Wall Partitions and plants can help.

  • Social Interaction and Active Social Zones

The social zone is a dedicated area for employees’ enjoyment catch-ups, breaks,get together and share ideas. Comfortable furniture and décor details signify a space of comfort. It may incorporate games and well-being elements offering team members a space to de-stress, increasing productivity and employee satisfaction. 

  • Ergonomically designed – Office Furniture

Long hours of sitting and poor workstation layout can cause musculoskeletal pain and can result in discomfort, in the neck, back or shoulder areas. These injuries can develop from mild to severe, and into chronic physical health and mental stress problems. Applying ergonomic principles to workstations by setting up adjustable furniture can help in employee well-being.

Benefits of maintaining holistic employee well-being 

Investing in employee well-being and ergonomic application of psychological and physiological principles to the office design, processes, and systems helps in the holistic development of work-life balance. The benefits of maintaining holistic employee well-being are:


  1. Focus and Productivity of employees increase
  2.  Influence of employee morale, turnover & engagement,
  3.  Support physical & mental health
  4. Foster creativity, motivation and concentration.


A holistic approach towards employee well-being accommodates physical, mental and spiritual factors. Conventional office design with prolonged sitting and poor workstation layout can trigger muscular and skeletal pain in the body. Harm also occurs when employees have neither the tools nor the training to manage the risks of working at a screen. Healthy and happy office design with communication, social interaction, yoga sessions and workshops on improving financial health are essential.

Promoting work-life balance, recognizing employees’ achievements and providing opportunities for personal and professional growth can help in holistic employee well-being.

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