Concern for student and educator well-being has been a growing trend for years which has now been exacerbated by the pandemic.

While each face their separate challenges, both groups are impacted in ways that prevent them from being able to do their best learning and teaching. Whether in-person, remote, or a hybrid blending of both approaches, students and educators continue to struggle. When it comes time to go back, they don’t want to return to their previous classrooms, campuses and offices – they want to return to better.


Typically we think of well-being from an emotional standpoint – an experience where we simply ‘feel good’, rather than any number of negative emotions. Steelcase’s research shows us that there’s more to our well-being than just our feelings.

There are six pillars of well-being that should be kept in mind and accommodated to ensure students and educators feel supported.

  • Meaning: people crave a purpose and connection to something greater than themselves
  • Belonging: we want to not only feel accepted, but valued as human beings
  • Authenticity: our insights are unique to each of us, and we need to be able to express them
  • Mindfulness: being present in the moment helps us connect with ourselves and others in invaluable ways
  • Optimism: a positive mindset helps us find a positive outcome
  • Vitality: physical health is important to ensure our bodies can perform optimally


Dedicated spaces are easy to imagine – quiet, relaxing, and soothing mindfulness rooms; fitness centers with equipment for your own routines, one-on-one personal training, and group classes; and counseling centers where students meet with professionals.

Embedded spaces are a little more subtle, found within larger environments. Classrooms, libraries, commons spaces, cafes, student centers and staff lounges can all support well-being when smaller spaces are zoned off to offer students and faculty a reprieve from the normal hustle and bustle of these popular areas.


Building on the 5 human needs, Steelcase has identified a few that specifically affect students and educators in different ways than employees in the workplace. Without a sense of belonging, students’ achievement, well-being, and ultimately graduation rates have been negatively affected. Similarly for educators, their attendance, well-being, and retention rates have dropped as stress has increased. Without the proper tools to support remote learning, students from both low- and high-income households are experiencing less effective learning as they try to keep up with the demands of multiple classes with limited resources. The benefits of movement in the classroom have been known for years, but now more than ever students and educators want and need to control their learning experiences by being able to adjust their classroom spaces to suit their needs.


Connect with our education experts to learn more and explore planning ideas that can improve students and educators’ well-being, to ultimately improve the learning experience for all.