Are students really bothered about wellbeing? 

The COVID pandemic has changed our appreciation of what wellbeing is. What was once something that was discussed on the front cover of health magazines but largely ignored by many of us, wellbeing is now being taken much more seriously. 

Acknowledging the importance of our health and wellbeing is not just a trend. The student demographic increasingly see their mental and physical wellbeing as a priority and COVID is simply an accelerant of this.

But wellbeing is still a hard thing to define, and the common question still persists: “are students really bothered about wellbeing?”.

Let’s break it down and rephrase the question: 

  • Do you want to be able to work productively and get good grades? 
  • Do you want to be fit and healthy? 
  • Do you want to have good friends and feel part of a community?
  • Do you want to manage your finances well and not stress about money?

It’s hard to imagine any student not wanting these outcomes. These are all things that contribute to a rich student life. 

And these are the elements that contribute to good wellbeing: our sense of purpose in life, our physical health, our sense of community and belonging, and financial health (and the avoidance of common stresses). 

So why does where we live matter so much?

Our homes have a huge impact on our mental and physical wellbeing. They affect almost every aspect of our lives: the way we think and feel, the way we socialise, the way we learn and develop, the way we eat, the way we rest and recuperate.

Still not convinced? Europeans spend on average 65% of their time inside their home. For a student on a 3 year degree thats nearly 2 years spent inside their home. 2 years!

Productivity, creativity, friendship, belonging, healthy lifestyle habits, the comfort of getting good value for money – the student home can and should engender all of these and more.

Adjusting to university life is a big change in most students lives. They are living independently from family, making new friendships and relationships, striving for academic success and making memories which will last a lifetime.

A permanent shift 

Across the whole of the UK, students rank accommodation as the most important factor influencing their wellbeing.

“The role of accommodation in supporting student wellbeing is becoming more fully recognised.”

Matthew Bowen, Head of Student Property Research, Knight Frank

The pandemic has put wellbeing at centre of public consciousness. Importantly, student housing providers need to realise that this focus on wellbeing isn’t a trend, it is a permanent shift. 

The design of our homes can and should help people live better lives.

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Extracts taken from our upcoming book ‘Designed for Wellbeing: The ethical property developer’s guide to to creating student accommodation that outperforms the market’ which will be published July 2020 

Philippa and Tom Charrier and property investors and developers and founders of FAT Properties. 

They work with private investors to build long term wealth whilst delivering a positive social impact.