Issue 49 Designing for a healthy practice

Feilden-Clegg-Bradley-Studios_Designing for Wellbeing
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios - Designing for wellbeing
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios - Designing for wellbeing

So, the theory goes that happy healthy employees who feel they are being looked after are more likely to perform their roles at a higher level, take less time off sick, will be more engaged and better at motivating themselves and their colleagues.

Fantastic! Just one thing….what makes employees happy and healthy?

How about scooters in the office, scheduled nap times, chair races and an office laundry service? OK, maybe not. These (very real) employee wellbeing examples may raise a smile, but in reality the novelty factor would wear off pretty quickly.

The Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD) uses the following definition of wellbeing, which balances the needs of the employee with those of the organisation: 'creating an environment to promote a state of contentment which allows an employee to flourish and achieve their full potential for the benefit of themselves and their organisation'.

The foundations of workplace health and wellbeing are pretty simple really: Provide a safe, clean and comfortable place to work. Develop a culture that is supportive and understanding, helping all employees to feel accepted wherever they work in the business and whatever their background. Communicate values – employees who reflect their company values demonstrate they have chosen to work in a practice that they can be proud to represent. Ensure processes that determine pay, promotion and work are based on accurate information, are unbiased and apply to everyone; employees can then be sure they are being treated fairly. Show recognition and appreciation; a thank you costs nothing but can be worth a huge amount. Support professional and personal development. Allow employees some control over their workload. Connect, communicate, ask ‘what’s your opinion?’. Remember that we all have a life outside work. Understand and be mindful of stress and mental health, especially in an increasing 'always on' culture.

I could carry on, but I need to get to the point.

There is a strong connection between certain staff benefits and health & wellbeing, with one supporting the other. Benefits like gym membership, workplace massages, providing healthy lunches/snacks etc are health and wellbeing initiatives, and are all nice to have but soon lose their value if the basic foundations aren’t in place.

At FCBStudios we're lucky. Our offices are designed by us; people who understand how workplace links to wellbeing. We can also pretty confidently put a tick next to everything listed above. Our regular tea and coffee times, delicious free and healthy lunches, enhanced Maternity/Paternity/Shared Parental Pay and subsidised yoga/pilates all support our health and wellbeing and are more than a lot of employees receive.

We're not perfect though. No one is. There is always more we can do.

That doesn't mean introducing more benefits, but by doing what we already do better, excellently even.

How? Perhaps by celebrating what we already have, working together to keep the foundations strong and, by using our creativity, suggesting how we can do better.

Jayne Rolls


1. Tea time brings the practice together for knowledge sharing, community building and a reason to spend 15 minutes away from your desk.
2. Design Reviews involve the whole project team, and value everyone's input.
3. Delicious and healthy lunches promote wellbeing and give us another opportunity to talk to each other. 

All images © Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios