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Is Your Office Design Affecting Your Employees’ Health?

By: Alice Mansley 

We tend to spend most of our time at work – so our surroundings have never been more important in supporting our wellbeing. Creating the right atmosphere for employees will help with productivity, and workplace design can reduce stress levels. The modern office environment has gone through many transformations as times have changed. The open plan office is now seen as desirable and sociable, whereas timely offices often featured cubicles and closed offices. For example, health and safety laws have changed to support employee wellbeing and awareness of hazards – this has resulted in a minimalistic view of how an office is structured to avoid trip hazards.
Office furniture
Whilst health and safety has become much more important at work – many office workers are still experiencing a high amount of pain from inadequate office stations. This can involve ergonomically incorrect chairs that do not support the body, and desks that are either too high or low that cause strain on wrists and arms.
To alleviate or reduce pain, specialists are now promoting the use of sit-standing desks, giving the using the option to be able to stand up throughout the day.

Comfort and flexibility
Once your office has ergonomically correct desk arrangements – it might be time to think about investing in modern breakaway areas for your staff. 
Office pods are ideal for both indoor and outdoor options for employee privacy and collaboration. Open plan offices do have their benefits, but it’s important to provide spaces for conference calls and meetings. These pods are fully ventilated and modern – coming equipped with USB ports, smart white boards and are fully sound proofed.
Having features like this in your office is not only a productivity boost for employees, but they can be used as a stress relieving area to take time out from our screens and workloads – as we all know taking breaks are essential.

Air quality
The design of your office should promote clean and fresh air whenever possible.  A  double-blind study conducted by Harvard T.H et al took participants into various office rooms for 6 days, and at the end given a cognitive test. The results showed that those in the ‘green’ building conditions performed better to those within the ‘non-green’ conventional building conditions.  Cognitive scores for those in ‘enhanced green building’ conditions had scores 101% higher than others, showing that Co2 and ventilation rate all had significant impacts on the way they were able to function.
From looking at the results from this study, the modern office can easily implement changes to benefit employee wellbeing. Introducing plants into the office and access to windows for fresh air are likely to make a different to how employees work. At the same time, in cold weather supplying adequate heating is likely to increase productivity and comfortable working environments.

Food and Drink
Being able to provide your office with healthy snacks and a water cooler can greatly benefit the productivity and health of your employees.
Fresh water from a mains fed water cooler can help concentration levels, sleep and brain function – to name just a few advantages of regularly drinking water.
Don’t worry, if you can’t afford to regularly provide snacks and install a water cooler – you can always use posters around the office and kitchen areas to remind staff about the benefits of eating and drinking well throughout the day.

Working Environment Furniture Headline Chair is a modern example of the latest in ergonomic office chairs.