By Stephanie Taylor Christiansen
It's hard to get any real privacy in many workplaces, whether it's to make a personal phone call, take a few deep breaths, or sink into a full meditation session. For new mothers who need a lactation room, getting a comfortable space is also a major concern.
More companies are responding by creating a multi-purpose "wellness room" for employee use. Wellness rooms don't have to be elaborate — you might be able to set one up by repurposing an underused room, or even a large closet, in your office. Here are a few steps to follow:
Determine How Your Wellness Room Will Be Used
One of your primary concerns may be how to create a space that doesn't cost a lot — and that employees will actually use.
To make sure you design a space that suits their needs, ask employees how they might use a wellness room. Do they want an inspirational nook to recharge, or a calming space to de-stress? What practical considerations might they have? You likely won't be able to please everyone, but asking around will help you do the most good for the most people.
Find Furniture to Set the Tone
A good wellness room will have a lockable door, comfortable chairs and adjustable lighting, but other items will depend on what coworkers predominately use the space for. Think about how accessories like candles, speakers and wall art could fit your goals for the room. If you have meditation enthusiasts in the office, you might want dimmable floor lamps and a plush mat for the floor. Some workers may want to dive into a good book for a half-hour during their lunch break, so make sure the lighting can be turned up to accommodate them, as well.
Even if you don't currently have nursing mothers at your company, remember that you may at some point in the future. They'll likely need power outlets, a small refrigerator, a desk or side table and a small cabinet.
Keep the Space Sacred
Make it clear that this space is supposed to be an escape. Aside from the lock on the door, create a sign to hang outside that mentions what the space is for. For example, the wellness room is supposed to be a haven for individuals to have a moment to themselves — not a space to hold a quick conference call.
Once the room is officially open for use, ask coworkers what they think of it, and make tweaks to improve based on their suggestions.
The end goal of a wellness room is to create a space that makes employees' lives better and removes some stress from their workday. Keep these goals in mind, and you'll be able to create a refuge in the office.