Workplace Design for Mental Wellness: How to Begin

by Jun 3, 2024

Home » The Disability Inclusion Blog » Workplace Design for Mental Wellness: How to Begin

Prioritizing employee well-being shouldn’t be confined to a single calendar month. However, May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which makes it an opportune time to reflect on how employers can foster environments that support mental well-being.

It’s vital to consider the impact of design on mental health. Historically, efforts to improve design for mental health have focused mostly on medical facilities. Drawing inspiration from there, workspaces can integrate principles of Universal Design to mitigate mental strain and enhance productivity.


Here’s where to start:

  1. Create a homelike environment: Creating a workplace ambiance with a homey feel, with comfortable furnishings, soft lighting, and personalized workspaces, allows employees to feel more at ease.
  2. Prioritize well-maintained spaces: Clutter can contribute to feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Implementing efficient storage solutions can promote a sense of orderliness and tranquility within the workspace.
  3. Foster noise control: Open floor plans might seem collaborative, but constant background noise can be distracting and mentally draining. Designated quiet areas and incorporating sound-absorbing materials can create an environment more conducive to concentration and productivity.
  4. Support privacy: Employees who don’t know who’s watching them do their job constantly filter what they say or do. Providing private areas for personal tasks, confidential conversations, or moments of self-reflection can ensure that employees feel respected in their professional environment.
  5. Incorporate elements of nature: Natural light, calming water features, and greenery can uplift mood, enhance cognitive function, and reduce stress levels, contributing to a more positive and productive work environment.
  6. Facilitate outdoor access: Designing spaces that offer easy access to outdoor areas encourages movement and connection with nature, both of which are associated with reducing depression and stress and improving social and cognitive functioning.
  7. Adopt safety and security measures: Adopting safety and security practices that instill feelings of personal safety and security is fundamental for mental well-being in the workplace.
  8. Support social interactions: Designing communal areas, organizing team-building activities, and providing opportunities for mental breaks cultivates a sense of community and reduces feelings of isolation.

By integrating these principles into the design of your workspace, you’re creating an environment that can lead to increased productivity, improved morale, and a happier, healthier workforce. This May, schedule a consultation with me and let me help you design a space that empowers individuals to thrive personally and professionally.

Schedule a consultation with me on Calendly

Andrew D. Houghton

Andrew D. Houghton

President, Disability Inclusion Solutions

Nationally Recognized Accessibility Expert. Creating Innovative Disability Inclusion Solutions. Certified DOBE.

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