The focus on health and wellbeing in the workplace is increasing the demand on businesses to create workspaces that are sustainable and ergonomic. For the business owner, health and wellbeing has never before been such a fundamental consideration, and interior office design is playing a significant role. Office fit out companies in London, like JBH Refurbishments are striving to enhance workplace health and wellbeing through ergonimc and sustainable office design and we’re on hand to offer professional advice to those that need step in the right direction.
In this article we address how office design, layout and air quality within the office environment can enhance workplace health and wellbeing.
First though, let’s take a look at some stats and trends about:
- Absenteeism and Presenteeism
- How Does This Impact on Businesses?
Absenteeism and Presenteeism Stats
According to stats from the Office of National Statistics sick days are at an all-time low – with the average workers taking just 4.1 days off sick in 2018, compared to 7.2 in 1993.
Perhaps the reduction in sick days are a direct result of better diet, exercise, improved ventilation and a focus on more ergonomic workspaces created by office fit out companies in London and the wider UK.
It’s clear that less people are taking time off sick, on the other hand, businesses are recording a rise in presenteeism.
The definition of presenteeism is going to work despite feeling unwell.
The desire to impress, not let other team members down and always be present at work means workers feel more inclined to go into work rather than take time off to recover. As a result, the spread of illness and mental health issues at work are prevailing.
A study by health insurer, Vitality found that more than 40% of employees said their work is affected by health problems, which has risen by a third in the last five years.
Productivity is essential to any business and this report explains that of the 14.6% of working hours lost due to lack of productivity, 1.1% is due to absenteeism. And a stonking 13.4% are due to presenteeism. It would therefore appear that people are putting aside their mental health and physical health problems to attend work.
How Does This Impact on Businesses?
We don’t need to tell you that if workers are not taking the time to recover at home, they could spread germs, experience prolonged symptoms of health, stress and anxiety. From a business perspective this can impact heavily on individuals at work and team productivity.
Speaking out on presenteeism on BBC News is Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Dixons, Kesah Trowell said, “It’s important that we have happy, healthy and engaged workforce.
“Technology makes it easy for people to hide behind their desks, their computers or their phones. It’s easier for more presenteeism than there would’ve been a few years ago. That’s why it’s important for us to manage this.”
While the topic of presenteeism covers both physical and mental wellbeing, the topic of mental health remains dominant in all reports about health at work. As a nation mental health has been the fourth reason workers give when taking time off sick, which has been the case since 2009. However, the number of days taken off between 2009 and 2018 for mental health reasons has increase by five days per year.
Going back to the Vitality study, small and large organisations are addressing the issue of mental health and employees are responding well.
Small organisations offer around 25 health interventions to their employees. Medium to large organisations offer an average of 30 interventions. While the majority of busineses are striving improve mental wellbeing at work, the main issue lies with employee awareness of these interventions. Just 28% of employees have an understanding of the support available to them.
Advice From The Office Fit Out Companies in London: How Businesses Can Address Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace
Today’s office fit out companies in London spec features and fixtures within office interior design to improve or enhance health and wellbeing of employees. From the ground up, fit out contractors across London and the UK will first access the available space and discuss the design as standard, but now a provision is made to ensure all your health and wellbeing concerns are addressed too.
First, we look at what the company currently offers its employees to unwind and destress during the day. Some of the most commonly offered health provisions at work are:
- Employee assistance programmes
- Provision of health and wellbeing information
- Access to fresh-drinking water
These are excellent cost-effective solutions for businesses of all sizes. But for companies that are looking to make interior design changes to their workspace, JBH Refurbishments can offer advice on décor, layout, lighting, acoustics, hygiene, furniture and air quality to improve the overall employee experience.
Healthy Office Design Features Built In
For the purposes of this article, we are going to take a brief look at the types off office design features that can improve the health and wellbeing of employees.
Biophilic design is extremely popular in London for improving health and wellbeing. This is a design concept that addresses human engagement with all things natural, such as plants, wood, natural stone and water. Office planting is a cost effective and striking feature that can capture the true essence of Biophilic design.
As an office fit out company in London, JBH Refurbishments offers a range of office interior solutions, including office planting. We can design, install and maintain office planting as part of our office design services in London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
Some office planting fixtures that many London-based offices spec as part of their office design include:
- Planting and moss walls
- Living wall art
- Planting containers
- Cabinets with integrated planters
- Hanging ceiling plants
While plants can be an impactful feature within a corporate setting, the benefits extend beyond design and human engagement. Plants remove carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, which is great for cognitive functionality. They purify the air and can help to balance the internal humidity in offices where air conditioning and heating can cause a dry environment.
Together plants and a well serviced air conditioning and ventilation system, can have a positive impact on worker’s health and productivity.
Natural lighting is essential in a productive workplace. Even a basement office can improve the presence of natural light, and perceived natural light. From sun tubes to LED lights, there are plenty of options available that can aid your workplace health and wellbeing efforts.
Glazed office partitioning can prevent the loss of natural light within an office environment too. There are plenty of options available, from seamless to framed glass office partitioning systems with integrated blinds, frosted and electric clear-to-opaque privacy glass.
Activity based workplace and booths offer employees the chance to work in a team or solitary. Having different spaces for different activities means workers engage better as a team or can work alone as they see fit. If you would like to learn more about activity based workstations, please check out our article, ‘The Activity-Based Workplace – The Evolving Office Design Trend‘
Height adjustable desks are a design solution to increase physical activity in the workplace. We all know that exercise can improve mental and physical health, and height adjustable desks can be a step in the right direction. Other ideas for improving physical activity include, company exercise schemes and cycle to work incentives. For more ideas on how to develop an active workforce read: Workplace FIT Out Ideas for an Active Workforce.
Acoustics are also important in an office. Too much noise and reverberations are distracting. Constant exposure can lead to hearing and mental health issues such as stress and anxiety. Having somewhere to work quietly is important and this can be achieved with office booths, office partitioning and sound panels, which can be made to compliment your office interior.
Hygienic cladding is an impervious and waterproof wall covering that comes in a multitude of design options that are ideal for areas that require a high level of hygiene, such as kitchens and washrooms. Hygienic cladding is the ideal alternative to traditional tiles and its properties are enhanced by its professional installation. Using the right installation equipment, the hygienic cladding can be moulded and joined to create a seamless finish, leaving a smooth surface that can be easy to clean and maintain, without an crevasse for germs and bacteria to bread.
While on the topic of hygiene at work, there are some very simple steps every worker can use to enforce better standards, such as:
- Wash cups after every use
- Use antibacterial spray on all surfaces before and after eating at desks
- Make use of the air conditioning and plant to purify the air
- Ventilate your office. Opening a window for 20 minutes per day in areas where there is good outdoor air quality can have a significant positive impact on productivity
To conclude, it is safe to say that businesses and office fit out companies in London are making an obvious step in the right direction to improving health and wellbeing at work.
The use of office design is changing the traditional office environment with physical and mental health being a staple consideration. While new procedures are enabling business to effectively support workers.
It’s all a step in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go.
JBH Refurbishments Leads the Way in Office Fit Out Companies in London
JBH Refurbishments is one of the office fit out companies in London that continues to explore and research the most effective office design solutions to improve work life and sustainable environments. So, if you are looking for a contemporary office design company in London to upgrade your workplace, please do contact our team. They look forward to hearing from you.