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A Six-Step Guide to the Built Environment at Work

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

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

  • If you cannot move, integrate greenery and plants into the space you have as much as possible

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 neighbourhood of a potential space on Try to locate in a neighbourhood 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 meditation room.

Integrate blue, green, yellow and red colours in your wall colours, furniture and floors. These colours 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.



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