Wellbeing spaces guidance


The Police Dependants’ Trust has a long history of supporting Police Forces and their sports associations through our Wellbeing Fund which encourages local initiatives aimed at improving health and wellbeing of police officers and staff.

Following publication of our research Injury on Duty, current police personnel (PDT & University of Surrey, 2016), we have been reviewing how we can increase the impact of our work and support more people. The PDT has decided to increase its focus on improving the mental health and wellbeing of those who have been injured at work, both physically and psychologically. From our research, 80% of officers and staff reported that they had experienced at least one physical or psychological injury and of those 42% had experienced a psychological injury or mental health issue due to work. Anxiety at 43% and depression at 37% were the top two mental health issues, with a further 20% also saying they had experienced a sleeping disorder.

Review of our Wellbeing Grants scheme, which provides grants of up to £3,000 for one-off projects, indicates a proportion of these grants have been for creating quiet spaces where officers and staff can take time out. To help align our Wellbeing Grant activity with best practice we developed the following recommendations.

Best practice

The following recommendations have been made to reflect best-practice standards defined by the WELL Building Standard; the industry-leading standard for supporting health and wellbeing through building design.

Design recommendations are provided under the 7 Concepts of the WELL Building Standard; Air, Water, Light, Nourishment, Fitness, Comfort, and Mind.


Improved air quality enhances individual cognitive function by up to 61% (source: Chan school of public health, 2016)

  • Choose low-VOC paint and furnishings
  • Ensure adequate ventilation
  • Consider installing a standalone air purifier


By drinking enough water every day, people see a 14% increase in productivity at work and at home (source: University of East London, 2013).

  • Install a filtered drinking water fountain


Optimal lighting improved perceived employee performance by 17%, and delivers an objective improvement of 12% (source: CBRE and the University of Twente, 2017)

  • Maintain an average of 215 LUX
  • Provide shading controls
  • Installation of circadian lighting


78% of employees feel more energised after opting for nutrient-rich snacks, whilst performing up to 45% more productively (source: CBRE and the University of Twente, 2017)

  • Provide fruit bowls or healthy snacks
  • Provide access to recipe books


71% of employees feel healthier in spaces which facilitate increased movement (source: Chan school of Public Health, 2016)

  • Provide small-scale fitness equipment eg. yoga balls, balance boards
  • Provide access to fitness reading materials


Distracting noise can result in a 66% reduction in staff comfort (source: World Green Building Council, 2016)

  • Provide ergonomic furniture
  • Adopt soundproofing measures and low-noise equipment
  • Provide thermal comfort control measures


Employees perform up to 30% more productively in an office environment that supports mindfulness (source: CBRE and the University of Twente, 2017)

  • Integrate natural patterns & colours (wood, stone sand), greenery, and photographs
  • Integrate artwork into the space
  • Provide access to mindfulness reading materials

Other considerations

  • Use electronic screens to display calming images.
  • Integrate a visual display of positive policing stories; thank-you cards, artwork from local schools, photographs etc.
  • Ensure that the space is maintained properly, and kept in a clean and tidy manner
  • Eliminate the use of chemicals in the space (eg. harmful cleaning products)
  • Consider establishing rules of use to avoid staff treating as a break area

More advice

If you are looking at introducing a wellbeing space into your place of work, you can contact Claire Craigie, Development & Impact Manager at the Trust for advice, as well as possible funding from the Police Dependants Trust for your project.

Claire Craigie
020 8941 6907