Aiming to improve student wellbeing is an ideal we should all be striving for. Time spent at university for young people is becoming increasingly more difficult than ever before. Students can struggle with their mounting workloads, some will have money issues, and others could feel isolated if they’re not used to lively environments. Issues with isolation could become an even greater concern if social distancing measures have to stay in place.
There are approximately 1.9 million students in the UK, all living in various forms of accommodation. The popularity of PBSA has skyrocketed recently, accounting for 30% of the student market — an increase of 22% of figures from five years ago. This tells us students are looking for a type of accommodation that suits them better.
PBSA does a lot to improve student wellbeing. The support that staff can offer to the students is integral to their happiness, and the right Interior Design can also influence their mental wellbeing.
Encourage Social Interaction
Mental wellbeing is a high priority across universities, as it’s estimated one-in-three students experience periods of depression and loneliness. As upsetting as this statistic is, it’s not much of a surprise when you consider that going to university will be the first time some students have been away from their families, which can be both exciting but daunting. It can be even harder on international students, as they may not have any family in the UK and could struggle with the language barrier.
To make sure they don’t dwell too much on being away from their loved ones, it’s essential for the students to establish strong bonds as soon as possible. The friends they make in your PBSA will act as an extended family, people they can turn to when they need a helping hand or someone to talk to. Achieving this community feel can be done with Interior Design.
Think about how the communal areas of your PBSA will be laid out. Spaces have to be inviting so students will want to spend their time there. Plenty of comfortable seating and eye-catching features can encourage open discussions while maintaining a laid-back vibe.
Social distancing measures present a new challenge. The approach has shifted from encouraging as much interaction as possible to fostering friendships on a smaller but potentially more intimate scale. This is by no
means an impossible task, but it’ll take an expert Interior Designer to find the right balance. We’ve written a blog on how Coronavirus and social distancing will affect the way we accommodate students to give you a better insight.
Incorporate Biophilic Design
Biophilic design is taking over the design world and for good reason. There’s a strong argument to suggest that we’re not as well adapted to indoor living as we might think, which makes sense when you consider how better intune with nature early man was. Plant life and other natural elements tap into the part of our DNA that longs for a more natural setting.
A biophilic environment has been proven to reduce stress and tension levels, which can help students with their mental health and wellbeing. Providing areas where students can go to forget about the stress of modern life is key, but it takes a keen eye and a thorough understanding of biophilic design elements to get right.
And biophilia doesn’t have to be restricted to communal spaces. Private quarters can be areas of tranquil, too, without the design features becoming the focal point. A bright splash of paint, a window and a plant or two can really lift the mood of the room’s inhabitant.
The amount of space that’s available, the colour scheme, access to natural light, plantlife and environmentally friendly materials are all used in conjunction to create perfect biophilic areas. LOFT has plenty of experience in biophilic design and the welfare of students is one of our top priorities. Make sure to contact a member of our team if you’d like more information on how our services can improve student wellbeing, and don’t forget to read our full article on the benefits of biophilic design.
Keep Everything Relevant to Student Life
To really keep the students in PBSA properties happy, you need to remember that every aspect of design should be done with them in mind. With social distancing measures in place, some students will be attending classes virtually, so fashioning private study areas with sound muffling features will help them concentrate.
Many students will be living on a tight budget and won’t want to go out all the time. However, they’ll still want to socialise and have fun, which is where games rooms, roof terraces and areas to host movie nights will be integral. It will give students amenities they can enjoy with others without costing them their student loans.
University should be about balancing the study aspects with having and socialising. Create spaces that allow students to learn and form friendships, and you’ll improve the chances of them staying in your PBSA for the duration of their course. By focusing on the aspects that influence student retention, you’re making it easier to keep your property at capacity.
Improve Student Wellbeing With Professional Help
Student life can be a rollercoaster of emotions. With more pressure being put on young people to succeed right from the start, it’s no surprise that many students think about dropping out of university altogether. Luckily, Interior Design coupled with the right support can help keep students on the right path.
At LOFT, we have a huge amount of experience in designing spaces students will love, giving them the support they need to carry on with their studies. We put a significant amount of focus into creating areas for the benefit of the end users, so we know exactly what the students in your property are looking for.
Finding ways to improve student wellbeing isn’t easy, but you don’t need to do it on your own. To get a better idea of how LOFT’s award-winning Interior Design team can help keep smiles on the faces of your students, get in touch with our office, and we’ll share our expertise.