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How good office design can improve staff wellbeing

How good office design can improve staff wellbeing

How good office design can improve staff wellbeing

There are many factors office designers and facilities managers need to bear in mind when they are planning and fitting out their workplace, but one of the most important of all is staff wellbeing.

A number of recent reports have emphasised just how important the working environment can be in determining how content and comfortable workers feel in their jobs. This is relevant not only for physical wellbeing but mental health as well.

 

Businesses should start by focusing on simple provisions that will make the workplace feel like a hygienic and healthy place to be. Regular cleaning is extremely important, as are lots of natural light and open space.

In a recent survey by Tiles Direct, 41 percent of respondents said more natural light would enhance their workplace, followed by a better break and lunch area (26 per cent), a more personalised workspace (22 per cent) and improved amenities (21 per cent).

A quarter (25 per cent) of people said office design played a part in their decision to accept a job. That increased to more than a third (36 per cent) of women and more than six out of ten 18 to 24-year-olds (61 per cent).

When it comes to reassuring staff that they are working in a clean and healthy space, it can also prove beneficial to have natural and eco-friendly features in place, such as plants, energy-efficient appliances and recycling points.

Another piece of recent research has underlined the importance of businesses and office managers protecting employees' physical wellbeing.

Almost three-quarters of the workers participating in a Printerland.co.uk survey said aches and pains they suffered were caused by their job. More than four out of ten people (43 per cent) regularly complained of eye strain and just under a third (32 per cent) experienced severe headaches.

Other findings showed that nearly four out of ten UK employees (39 per cent) have struggled with back pain at work and 31 per cent suffer from neck strain on a regular basis.
One in six people (17 per cent) are reportedly affected by repetitive strain injury, but the research also revealed that 70 per cent of people admit to not having their workstations set up correctly.

Bosses and office managers should be encouraging members of staff - particularly those who spend long periods of time seated at a desk and looking at a computer screen - to take regular breaks to stretch their legs and get their muscles working.

Less than four out of ten respondents to the poll (36 per cent) said they make a point of regularly getting out of their office chair for a walk around.

Catherine Bannan, HR manager at Printerland.co.uk, said: "Health and safety procedures, such as fire drills and hazards, are well covered by businesses, yet workplace wellness is something we need to give more attention to.

"You can easily help your employees by undertaking individual desk assessments, ensuring your staff's computer equipment and monitors are set up properly, and that their chairs are appropriate for sitting on all day."

 

Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of iStock/Rawpixel