Wellbeing is a complex term which goes beyond environmental comfort. Comfort is usually considered as a pleasant or relaxed state of a human being in relation to their environment. However, that is only part of what we need for the focused and peaceful mind. Outdoors, we enjoy joyful moments such as seeing a tree in blossom, feeling a pleasant air movement or hearing birds singing. Our experience of the outdoor environment is the result of an interplay of heat, light, sound and socio-psychological factors. For indoor environments to support our happiness and wellbeing, they also should provide a multi-sensory experience.
We already have a breadth of knowledge about the sensory response of the human body. Wearable and smart technologies provide us with the opportunity for further enhancing our knowledge of how design decisions affect employees’ physiological and psychological wellbeing, both at the individual and collective level.
The need to stimulate creativity in the workplace
Creativity is part of human flourishing and needs a physical, mental and social climate to support it. Research in management and leadership explain how different activities can support stimulating creativity. These activities include facilitating collaboration, having success criteria, assigning responsibility, showing how a company cares for employees and allowing employees to arrange their workspace.
In new-build and refurbishment projects, organisations are realising how important it is to engage with the end users at the early design stage in order to better understand their needs and use their feedback to inform better design. This will help the project team deliver a better
indoor environment that can support the end users’ health, happiness and creativity, and, consequently, increase profitability and employee retention. Adopting a Soft Landings approach can enable project teams to engage with the end users, set wellbeing-related success criteria at the beginning of the project and ensure they will be met when the building is completed and in operation.
Employee creativity and productivity depend on motivation, ability and opportunity offered by facilities and support systems. Vitality, which is one of the attributes of positive wellbeing, is about human energy and can be negatively affected by such things as poor indoor air quality, insufficient natural lighting and poor temperature control. Dull environments which lack outdoor views, greenery and colours lead to unstimulating and less creative hours of work no matter how interesting that work might be.
Development of Derek’s Flourish Model