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Designing for Well-Being: A Case Study on Oldham Hospitals Well-Being Pods

This blog focuses on designing for well-being in celebration of World Well-Being Week (24th-30th June).  We reflect on the innovative Well-Being Pods we designed and manufactured at Oldham Hospital, completed several years ago. These bespoke timber pods, were part of an outdoor scheme we completed, providing a serene garden space for hospital staff to rest and recharge, emphasising the importance of designing for well-being.

Designing for Well-Being: The Concept and Design

The Well-Being Pods were uniquely designed with a hexagonal shape, symbolising honeycomb structures. This design choice was a tribute to the Manchester bee, a symbol of resilience and community spirit that gained prominence after the tragic Manchester bombing. Many of the hospital’s medical staff were directly involved in treating the victims of this event, making the bee a poignant and meaningful symbol for them. This thoughtful design highlights the significance of designing for well-being in spaces meant for recovery and reflection and is also present within the floor and wall finishes.

 

Designing for Well-Being Oldham Hospital Pods Fitout Healthcare Truline Construction and Interior Services

The Importance of Designing for Well-Being in Healthcare

Creating spaces dedicated to well-being is crucial, especially in high-stress environments like hospitals. According to Mates in Mind, in 2022/23, there were 875,000 cases of work-related stress, depression, or anxiety. These conditions accounted for 49% of all work-related ill-health cases and 54% of all working days lost due to work-related ill-health. The main factors contributing to work-related stress included job demands, lack of control, insufficient information and support, work relationships, and roles and responsibilities. Designing for well-being in healthcare settings can significantly alleviate these stressors.

Impact on Staff and Community When Designing for Well-Being

The Well-Being Pods at Oldham Hospital offered a much-needed respite for the hardworking medical staff. By providing a space where they could step away from their demanding roles, the hospital supported their mental and physical health. This initiative aligned with findings from a CIPD 2023 report, which noted that health and well-being activities could lead to better employee morale and engagement, as well as a healthier and more inclusive culture. This case study underscores the importance of designing for well-being to enhance staff satisfaction and performance.

Employers have a legal duty of care to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of their employees, including mental health and stress. Investing in mental well-being not only benefits employees by improving confidence, purpose, achievement, positive relationships, and inclusion but also benefits the business. Research showed that businesses could achieve a £5 return for every £1 spent on well-being support. This reinforces the value of designing for well-being in workplace environments.

 

Designing for Well-Being Oldham Hospital Pods Fitout Healthcare Truline Construction and Interior Service

Key Elements of Designing for Well-Being Spaces

When designing spaces for well-being, consider the following elements:

1. Natural Light

Natural light is essential for boosting mood and energy levels. Exposure to natural light helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythms, which can improve sleep patterns and overall well-being. To maximise natural light:

  • Install large windows to allow more sunlight into the space.
  • Use skylights in areas where windows are not feasible.
  • Incorporate glass doors to enhance light flow between rooms.
  • Use light-coloured walls and furnishings to reflect natural light and brighten the space.

2. Ergonomic Furniture

Ergonomic furniture supports physical health and comfort, reducing the risk of strain and injury. Key considerations include:

  • Provide chairs with adjustable height, lumbar support, and armrests.
  • Offer sit-stand desks to allow for movement and flexibility throughout the day.
  • Ensure desks are at a comfortable height to prevent strain on the neck and shoulders.
  • Provide footrests to support proper posture and reduce leg fatigue.

3. Green Spaces

Incorporating green spaces and plants can create a calming environment and improve air quality. Benefits of green spaces include:

  • Exposure to nature has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Plants can help filter and purify indoor air.
  • Greenery adds a touch of beauty and tranquillity to any space.
  • Design outdoor areas such as gardens or courtyards where people can relax and connect with nature.

4. Quiet Zones

Designate quiet zones for mindfulness and relaxation away from the hustle and bustle. These areas can help individuals recharge and focus. Consider the following:

  • Use soundproof materials to minimise noise and create a peaceful atmosphere.
  • Provide comfortable seating options such as bean bags, lounge chairs, or cushions.
  • Use soft, ambient lighting to create a soothing environment.
  • Include tools for mindfulness practices, such as meditation cushions, yoga mats, or calming music.

5. Community Input

Engage staff in the interior design process to ensure the space meets their needs and preferences. Involving the community can lead to more effective and personalised well-being spaces. Steps to consider:

  • Conduct surveys or feedback sessions to gather input from staff about their needs and preferences.
  • Hold workshops or focus groups to brainstorm ideas and solutions collaboratively.
  • Implement pilot projects to test and refine design concepts before full-scale implementation.
  • Maintain ongoing communication with staff to continuously improve and adapt the space based on their feedback.

Designing for Well-Being Oldham Hospital Pods Fitout Healthcare Truline Construction and Interior Services

Conclusion

The Well-Being Pods at Oldham Hospital were a testament to the power of thoughtful design in promoting well-being. As we celebrate World Well-Being Week, we recognise the importance of creating environments that support the mental and physical health of those who dedicate their lives to caring for others. By designing for well-being, we can foster a healthier, more resilient workforce and community. This case study serves as an example of how designing for well-being can make a significant difference in high-stress environments.

You can also check out our insights (News & Insights | Truline (truline-cis.co.uk)) for more tips and insights on office fit out trends, best practices and case studies.

Truline Construction & Interior Services – Creating Inspiring Spaces

TO SPEAK TO ONE OF OUR OFFICE INTERIOR DESIGNERS ABOUT COLLABORATING ON A WORKPLACE OFFICE FIT OUT IN MANCHESTER AND THE NORTH WEST PLEASE CALL TRULINE CONSTRUCTION & INTERIOR SERVICES ON 01942 227333 OR EMAIL INFO@TRULINE-CIS.CO.UK.