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A Six-Step Guide to the Built Environment at Work

This guide is a comprehensive approach to applying modern environmental psychology to improve the built environment at work. These adjustments can incrementally improve culture behavior and productivity.


The steps are presented in a linear, chronological fashion.


Step 1: Retail Proximity



Practical Tips:

  • If possible, lease space that is attached to or within walking distance (1km) of a retail establishment

  • If you aren't looking for a location, support local business and encourage your team to do the same

  • Share new establishments or hidden gems with people you know

Step 2: Green and Blue Proximity

Practical Tips

  • If possible, establish your workplace near green and blue spaces

  • Plan green and blue time into the daily schedule

  • Map out the surrounding area for green and blue space and encourage your team to use it regularly

Step 3: Transition Spaces

Practical Tips

  • Conduct a space assessment around your workplace, do you have room that can be transformed?

  • Contact local municipalities to see if you can utilize the space off your property

  • Create a quasi-perimeter and inform your associates of the new space

  • Plan weekly activities out there: meet and greets, BBQs, announcements, board games

Step 4: Windows, Doors and Lighting 

Practical Tips

  • East and west windows ensure natural light has optimal angles aligned with the sun’s trajectory 

  • Involve staff before installing or removing doors, windows and lights 

  • Install screens and covers on windows that you want to use to increase air flow or reduce air pollution 

  • Try different window sizes and locations 

Step 5: Nature Integration

Practical Tips

  • Assess your environments on all levels for pockets where nature could fit

  • Have nature sounds playing softly in the background – birds, running water, wind ruffling leaves

  • Start small with plants and flowers

Step 6: Recreation Spaces and Equipment

Practical Tips

  • Find out the hobbies of people

  • Communicate different recreation ideas with people

  • Implement free rooms for people to populate with what they need to realize enjoyment, maybe try adding in a Mental Health First Aid kit

  • Allow for work rooms to transform for recreation activities throughout the day


Considering a New Space?




Inquire about a tenant improvement allowance if you are leasing a new space. If there is a budget, invest it into greenery throughout your space or a recreation/meditation room.







Ensure all windows in the potential new space are east and west facing.








Pick spaces within a 1 km or less proximity to green space and retail.








Look up the neighborhood of a potential space on www.walkscore.com. Try to locate in a neighborhood with a rating of 70 or higher.










Look for space that is attached to or on top of a retail establishment.














Want to Improve Your Existing Space?





Make sure all changes are influenced and informed by all employees impacted by them.





Add a walled-off stretch station. Bring in tensor bands and bosu balls with wall signs for quick workout and stretch routines.








Make rooms multi-functional wherever possible. For example, a conference room that converts to a mediation room.








Integrate blue, green, yellow and red colors in your wall colors, furniture and floors. These colors stimulate productivity, calmness, creativity and strength.






Replace non-transparent doors with glass doors. This will increase sound insulation, bring in natural light and increase internal communication.







Add a unique piece of art to every room of the space.







Add a transition space. If you are a freestanding building, do it out front or back. If you are part of an office space, use a designated parking space or ask for permission to use the office front courtyard. It could be as simple as four patio chairs and two small tables from IKEA.

Scotia Place, 10060 Jasper Ave 
Suite 2020 Tower 1
Edmonton, AB T5J 3R8

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©2020 by Wellness Works Canada