Workplace and Wellbeing
Can greater participation in the design of the workplace improve employee wellbeing? This project, co-directed with the Gensler architectural firm, is looking at ways to improve the wellbeing of workers through the design of their workplace. Psychological wellbeing is affected by the sense of control felt over aspects of one's life ± this study is applying this idea to workplace design by exploring whether greater participation in the design of the workplace can increase the sense of control, and therefore the wellbeing of knowledge workers.
In the first stage of the project, the research team interviewed employees at three organisations: an architectural firm, a financial services organisation and a charity. Each had recently made design changes or relocated their workplace. We asked about their use of the new office and how they were involved in decisions around the redesign or relocation.
In the second stage, we are focusing on one workplace, Bupa House, London. Here we have offered different levels of design participation to four different teams of employees and various design interventions relating to a sense of control. We aim to find out whether employees welcome participatory design techniques, whether this approach can produce practical ideas and insights for workplace design, and which aspects of the workplace people consider to be most important to their wellbeing.