We know from numerous studies that office design can lead to improvements in office productivity through improvements in the health and well-being of staff in the workplace. But when it comes to office refurbishments is comfort one of your top priorities in your Kent or London office design?
Comfort Should Be Part of Your Kent or London Office Design Plans
According to a report published in 2003 by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) (PDF) comfort should be part of your office design plans. CABE suggest that the level of comfort experienced by employees can change productivity by up to 25%.
In a report published by Steelcase (PDF) in 2015, when surveyed, 85% of workers experience said they experienced discomfort on the job. More surprising was the figure of 37% of workers who felt that they were unable to perform at their best as a result of discomfort.
In 2017 further research by HR Magazine in a survey of 1,000 office workers by office supply company Fellowes found that 24% of staff were uncomfortable at their desks and 25% said that their working environment had a negative impact on their productivity. It was also reported that 37% of staff found themselves being distracted because of uncomfortable office temperatures. Up to 50% said that they lost up to an hour of work a day due to being distracted!
Stephen Bowden a chartered ergonomist at Fellowes commented: “One of the main causes of presenteeism is distractions that come in physical, psychological and social forms, which reduces the ability of the person to concentrate on and complete the tasks at hand.”
In the US there is even an international organisation which has looked at and established “requirements” to help businesses create comfortable and productive indoor environments. The organisation is called The WELL Building Standard™ (WELL). The standard is administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBITM), and certified by Green Business Certification Inc. According to the IWBITM, workplace design and office refurbishments that consider air quality, lighting, the incorporation of nature and the general layout of the interior can significantly impact on staff comfort leading to improvements in health, wellbeing and staff productivity.
What is the Cost of Discomfort in the Workplace?
According to the research by Fellows mentioned above, the UK loses 21 million working days every month which equates to a loss of £3 billion a year through workplace discomfort! However these figures could be even higher when you take into account HSE workplace stats.
According to the most recent UK health and safety statistics published by the health and safety executive (HSE) (PDF) in 2017/2018, there were 469,000 recorded cases of workers suffering from work-related musculoskeletal disorders (any injury, damage or disorder of the joints or other tissues in the upper/lower limbs or the back) and 6.6 million lost working days (Labour Force Survey). In the office environment the majority of these injuries are caused by poor workstation ergonomics, an uncomfortable chair which is poorly setup and positioned, causing awkward posture and forcing the body to bend and overreach.
So What Can You Do To Make Your Office More Comfortable?
There are any number of things you can do to ensure that your workplace is as comfortable for your staff. Below are a few of the elements a good office refurbishment should incorporate that affect comfort:
Office furniture can play a major role in staff comfort. Investing in good quality ergonomic chairs (relating to or designed for efficiency and comfort in the working environment) is an excellent way to increase the comfort of your employees. The UK HSE guidance explains how employers need to consider the needs of the individual, the type of work being carried out and the dimensions of the workstation. It goes onto explain how to ensure workplace seating is setup correctly and computer monitors are correctly positioned as a poorly positioned monitor can also lead to a variety of issues including neck and back pain and eye strain.
Good lighting in the work place should be a major concern for every Kent and London company when it comes to planning their office design.
Ensuring your workspace has the right office lighting is vital to your staff’s comfort, health and well-being. If the lighting is too strong or too weak it can cause discomfort.
Natural light is important but where natural light is not available other lighting options should be introduced to ensure the workplace has the right amount of light, depending on the individual and task needs. The HSE have highlighted this by saying “Different activities require different levels of light. In general, the more detailed the task, the greater the light requirement.”
We all know how uncomfortable a workplace can be when it’s too hot or too cold. We also know that when it’s too hot or cold it’s hard to concentrate and productivity levels decline. This is backed by a number of surveys e.g. a 2014 study conducted on behalf of Andrews Air Conditioning found that approximately 2% of office hours in the UK were wasted due to temperature issues which is the equivalent of or £13 billion a year.
Getting the temperature right is clearly important. So what is the right temperature for your office? Research by Cornell University has shown that “Warm workers work better”. The optimal temperature for office productivity was 25°C (77°F). Alan Hedge, professor of design and environmental analysis and director of Cornell’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory explained “At 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the workers were keyboarding 100 percent of the time with a 10 percent error rate, but at 68 degrees, their keying rate went down to 54 percent of the time with a 25 percent error rate. Temperature is certainly a key variable that can impact performance.”
He went onto comment “We expected that when you cool people down, they work harder and better… We found the exact opposite. When it was cool to colder in the office, people did less work and made more mistakes.”
Noise can be a big distraction in the workplace. Research done by the American Society of Interior Designers found that 70% of office workers believed their productivity would improve if their office was less noisy. A study by Berry and Banbury, showed that a noisy office can reduce the accuracy of work carried out by as much as 67%.
Noise can be tackled by using acoustic ceiling tiles which can help to control and direct noise within an office by absorbing noise, reducing reverberation, and preventing sound from travelling to adjacent areas. Acoustic screens, acoustic panels and partition walls can also act as barriers will absorb unwanted noise. Finally the use of carpeted floors will help reduce ‘foot-fall’ noise.
Contact Us to Make Your Kent or London Office Refurbishment Comfortable
JBH Refurbishments have 25+ years of experience in Kent and London office design and refurbishment and understand how to ensure your office refurbishment is not only “comfortable” but will meet, if not exceed, your business requirements for years to come.
To obtain your office refurbishment quotation contact JBH Refurbishments on 0333 207 0339 or via our contact form.