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Why your office design is vital when it comes to employee wellbeing

Office design is hugely important to all companies. No one wants to work in a boring and bland office and those in power are starting to realise that by bringing in office refurbishment specialists to transform their office in to an engaging, technologically advanced space. However, sometimes that comes at a cost for employee wellbeing. The follow tips should help companies ensure that employee wellbeing isn’t sacrificed for an aesthetically pleasing office.

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Comfort is key

The priority when buying furniture for the office should be to make sure that it’s comfortable for staff members. This will, of course, differ from one employee to the next as everyone has different requirements and therefore employers should check with all members of staff about any specific requirements that they may need prior to purchasing. Sometimes these requirements can be met through your standard, adjustable chairs, however sometimes the solution isn’t as simple as that. In instances where your standard adjustable chair wouldn’t suffice, then it’s imperative that you spend the necessary money to purchase a chair that does do the job. In an ideal world these chairs will fit in well with the general design of the office and look the part, however if you’re forced in to a decision between comfort or looks, comfort must win every time.

Wheelchair access

This should be a no brainer; however, some companies still aren’t adhering to the rules regarding wheelchair access and as a result aren’t employing individuals who need wheelchairs, even if they are more than qualified for the job. Recent statistics show that just 46.3% of working-age disabled people are in employment compared to 76.4% of working-age non-disabled people. This isn’t good enough in 2017 and must change. Companies who have members of staff who need a wheelchair should absolutely ensure that a ramp is fitted at the front door as a minimum. From then on, they should make sure that the walkways are wide enough to fit a wheelchair whilst the height of the desk for these workers also needs to be of a suitable height. These rules, of course, also apply to offices on higher floors, however, a lift must also be installed in this instance for obvious reasons.

Lighting

The lighting in the office refers to everything from the light outside that enters the office to computer lighting. Under the Health & Safety at Work Act of 1974, an employer has a duty to provide lighting to ensure that work can be undertaken safely. It also states that employee’s health or eyesight must not be jeopardised. In accordance with this, employers must take a number of measures. Firstly, it’s essential that you ensure that there are plenty of large windows within your office to allow as much natural light in to the office as possible. During the winter months, the only access staff are going to have to daylight in the week is whilst they are in work. It’s imperative that human beings have access to natural light for their wellbeing and health so ensure that all areas in the office are in view of at least one window. With the artificial lighting, you must find a balance between having it bright enough, so you aren’t getting headaches due to a dark room and a bright screen, but not too bright to prevent straining your eyes. With computer lighting, it’s all down to personal preference in terms of what brightness settings you elect. All employers can do is ensure that all computers have adjustable settings and more importantly, an eye-saver mode.

Private areas

Within any office environment there is going to be a variety of personalities. Some quiet, some loud, some that like interacting with others whilst they work and others that need a bit of peace and quiet to fully concentrate on the task in hand.  It’s important to cater to everyone so creating a private area within the office environment is important. Whether this be a pod type structure where staff members can go to refresh their mind or to work alone or just a corner in the room with sofas/comfortable furniture for them to relax and wind down. If you don’t create a private area, then the more reserved employees who work better alone could feel overwhelmed within the loud nature of some offices and this could have a negative impact on their wellbeing and work performance.

As you can see there are a number of reasons why office design is vital when it comes to employee wellbeing. Saracen Interiors, an office fit out company based in London, are a highly reputable firm who can design and kit your office out with employee wellbeing in mind

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