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Brief 1: Working Well

Design a vision and business case for a way to promote greater wellbeing when people are at work, wherever that work takes place, that will contribute to higher productivity and better overall mental health.






  • Mental health and wellbeing are important for everyone. In the UK, one in six working aged people will experience poor mental health at any given time.
  • The physical setting, culture, norms and activities of work environments all impact on wellbeing. Impacts can be positive or negative, and wellbeing at work is an important factor for employers to attract and retain staff.
  • This means thinking not only about treating and supporting people with mental health issues, but also about preventing poor mental health by embedding positive mental health behaviours and activities as part of our daily lives – both at home and at work.
  • Research shows there is a strong correlation between wellbeing and productivity in the workplace – for example in the UK, healthy, highly engaged employees are on average up to 30 days more productive.
  • Productivity losses at work occur from people taking time off for mental health reasons, but also from people being at work yet working at a sub-optimal level. These combined factors account for productivity losses estimated at 9 percent for the UK economy. Up to 40 percent of the UK workforce’s sickness absence is due to mental ill health, and work-related mental health issues add pressure to stretched NHS resources.
  • The impact of good design on wellbeing and productivity has been well-evidenced. At the same time, social changes and technological advancements are reimagining work and changing the requirements of ‘workplace’ design. For many the workplace now goes beyond a single building, as activity-based working, field-based working, remote working, flexible and freelance working are on the rise.

How should you approach this brief?

  • Your solution should demonstrate a strong understanding of mental health and wellbeing in working environments. What are the incentives for people to engage with or adopt your solution? How will it change behaviour? What are the benefits for different stakeholders?
  • How can working environments support the mental health needs of workers, and contribute to wellbeing? We are looking for meaningful solutions, which have potential to be applied in the real world. You are highly encouraged to collaborate with different stakeholder groups to develop, test and refine your solution.
  • The majority of mental health issues are ‘common mental disorders’, such as depression and anxiety – for the purposes of this brief you should focus on these, as opposed to psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.
  • You can focus on any working environment or occupation anywhere in the world: from startups to big business, across different industries and sectors, from schools and hospitals to offices, agencies and factories.
  • Whatever you choose to focus on, it is essential that your response is informed by strong human-centred research and insights.
  • What initiatives already exist to try and improve mental health and wellbeing among your target audience? Do some market analysis, and highlight the unique points in your solution against other existing products/services in the competitive environment – clearly show us what makes your solution different and compelling. 

For the purposes of illustration only, viable responses could include:

    • a product or service design solution that helps people address work-life balance or facilitates collaboration
    • an architectural or interior design solution that supports a change in the way people work or a new way of using or allocating workspace
    • an activity or event people can take part in within the workplace 
    • a behaviour change strategy that supports healthy ways of working

...and many more are possible.

Please note: this is an excerpt from the brief, for the full text and information, please download the brief. 


There are 2 Awards available for this brief.

NatWest Award of £2500 for the best design project/s

NatWest Award of £1000 for the best business case/s

The judging panel may decide on more than one winner and will allocate the awards accordingly. In addition, the judging panel may award commendations.

In addition, all shortlisted entrants will receive mentoring on their project and may be invited to the annual NatWest Executive Team Lunch, Exhibition and Industry Networking Event in
Summer 2018. 

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Aug 2018 – Briefs launch + register your interest online

Mon 14 Jan 2019 – Competition opens for submissions via

Wed 13 Feb 2019, 4 pm GMT – Deadline for ‘early bird’ submissions at reduced entry fee of £25

Wed 13 Mar 2019, 4 pm GMT – Final deadline for online registration + submissions (£35 entry fee)

20 Mar 2019 – Judging begins (2 stages: anonymous shortlisting + interviews with finalists)

May 2019 – Winners announced

Jun 2019 – Awards ceremony

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