Indoor climate and well-being
Industry trends
Interior design

The Rising Interest in Evidence-Based Office Design

June 21, 2023

The evidence-based office design approach seeks to maximise employee well-being and productivity by tapping into scientific fields such as neuroscience.

What is Evidence-Based Design?

Drawing inspiration from evidence-based medicine, “evidence-based design” (or EBD) emphasises the use of concrete quantitative or qualitative evidence as opposed to speculation and aesthetic motives in the designing of the space. In addition to architecture and interior design, the term is also commonly used for digital products and instructional materials.  

Evidence-based Design

A process for the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence from research and practice in making critical decisions, together with an informed client, about the design of each individual and unique project.[1]

Crafted from fragrant Alpine meadow flowers, grasses and leaves, Rockfon Senses brings biophilic textures to designs while reducing the noise level.  

Rockfon Senses Office Environment #1


Lighting plays a role in the circadian rhythm – i.e. the human sleep-wake pattern – so illumination choices can help influence wakefulness, well-being, and productivity. One study that use tools like urinary aMT6-s concentration measures (the primary metabolite of melatonin), a mood rating inventory, and questionnaires showed that variable light exerts a potential advantage in indoor office accommodations with respect to subjective mood.[8]

Ergonomic Furniture

The field of ergonomic design is an applied science, and furniture that is correctly advertised as “ergonomic” accounts for human needs like neutral postures, comfortable heights, and reduced screen glare for both physiological and cognitive comfort.

The Future of Evidence-Based Office Design

The neuropsychological researcher Sophie Schuller leads Cushman & Wakefield’s Living Lab EMEA, exploring the ways evidence-based findings – particularly those that are psychoneurophysiological – can play a role in workplace design. One of her major areas of interest is how we accommodate all the processes that humans go through in a day at work.

In a webinar discussing human-centric design, Schuller emphasises the need for neuroscientific considerations supported with quantitative measures in workplace design. 

For Schuller, one overlooked element in workplace design is the human need for cognitive relaxation. “So much of modern work, especially in offices, is about cognitively and intensively using your brain that your biological hardware can't cope with that. So having periods of active relaxation where you can lie down or recline, or take a different perspective, can provide areas of cognitive respite that we don’t accommodate in office environments,” she says.

Another element that is not always accounted for is movement. “A lot of our emotional processing (certainly our physiological processing and our health) comes from the experience of moving step count and being active,” adds Schuller.