Designing for Wellbeing in the Workplace

Rebecca Elliott, A&D Consultant

At McCoy-Rockford, our commitment to enhancing the overall wellbeing and productivity of our customers’ employees starts at the very beginning of the design process. We understand that planning and designing for spaces that promote employee wellbeing through interaction, movement and productivity across different types of tasks, can help employees function at a higher level, building engagement. Employee engagement leads to innovation, creativity, and ultimately better business results for organizations with lower turnover and less absenteeism.


Research from our manufacturing partner Steelcase shows that choice and control over where and how people work is the new status symbol for the creative class. Whether it’s individual work, working in pairs, or working with a group, we know that people perform best when they can determine where and how they work.

Employee engagement leads to innovation, creativity, and ultimately better business results

Applying these principles results in a workplace that provides a palette of place, which includes a palette of posture, presence and privacy. This means the office supports varying modes of work, encourages people to sit, to stand and to move throughout the day. These spaces are “destinations” designed to augment human interactions at work. In the end, nstead of simply creating offices, we help clients create an ecosystem of interconnected and interdependent places that support the physical, cognitive and emotional needs of people. 


The design implications of a physical place can transform us and enhance our experiences there. How we interact with our workplace encourages some behaviors and discourages others. For example, open areas may indicate a collaborative environment, while high panels or private offices suggest the need for more independent and focused work. Considering this, it’s curious so many organizations ignore the opportunity to shape behavior through their workplaces and miss out on the positive impact it has on the psychological and emotional states of their employees. It’s doubly critical to consider behavior since, over time, this becomes the organization’s culture.

When designing a space to support the physical, emotional, and cognitive wellbeing of employees, consider these design elements:

encouraging movement:

  • We design spaces that not only allow for, but also encourage, movement.
  • Our solutions incorporate products designed to share the load among muscles, ligaments and nerves. As a result, people who use our products benefit from the opportunity to move and engage their bodies in more active ways.
  • We want workers to swivel, lean, stretch and fidget. Their minds and bodies can benefirt from the movement, especially if they are kinesthetic learners.

a range of settings…

  • … provides spaces that support a wide range of tasks.
  • … makes it easy to switch between work modes
  • … allows people to migrate between collaborative and private environments so they can focus, re-energize and de-stress as needed

welcoming nature:

  • Our design solutions incorporate products and applications to allow light flow, easy access to walkways, patios, and terraces. These strengthen employees’ feelings of wellbeing.
  • We also bring the outdoors in with natural materials, colors and textures, so there’s a seamless connection to the outdoors.
  • We’re not just thinking about workspace as a built (micro) environment, we’re thinking about its connection to the larger (macro) environment.