Kent and London Office Refurbishment Trends – Impact on Health, Well-Being and Productivity

As we move further into 2019 we are dedicating this article to Kent and London office refurbishment / design trends we think will continue to play an important role in the health and well-being of office staff, in Kent and London in 2019.

In previous articles we’ve talked about some of the trends we’ve seen in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Some of these refurbishment trends will still continue to be prominent and important as we head into 2019.

Why Should You Care About Office Refurbishment Trends?

You may be reading this article and thinking why should I care about Kent and London office refurbishment “trends”? Although you may see design trends as something only big companies pursue there are very good reasons to take note of office refurbishment trends and new design ideas as they very often have a great deal of research behind them and are implemented as they have been shown to improve staff morale, enhance workers health and well-being and improve productivity.

There is also research to show that the right office environment plays a major role in attracting and retaining employees.

A Furniture123 survey, which surveyed 1,014 UK workers, showed that 53% of office workers would refuse a job if they don’t like the office or working environment, 41% of surveyed workers said outdated décor would put them off a job offer, 38% would be put off by a lack of natural light, 32% of respondents said broken or outdated furniture would also influence their decision and 32% would be put off by a dirty or unhygienic workplace.

In a further survey carried out in the US by Continental office and reported by HubSpot nearly one quarter of employees stated that the physical workspace affects their decision to stay with or leave a company. Depending on job level 50 – 76% of employees said the physical space affects their decision to accept a job offer.

Given that all of these points are as important to a small business as it is to a large business, design trends should be taken seriously.

Health and Well-Being

Over the years and through many surveys and research, companies have come to realise that staff health and well-being is paramount to ensuring good staff morale which results in happier staff which in turn feeds into better and increased work productivity. After all, sick staff are absent staff, and absent staff aren’t working.

This is backed up by a study carried out in 2017/2018 by Soma Analytics which showed that FTSE 100 companies that focussed on employee engagement and well-being outperformed the rest of the FTSE 100 by as much as 10 per cent!

Geoff McDonald, mental health campaigner and former global vice president of human resources at Unilever, said: “This report shows that more and more organisations report on mental health and wellbeing of their staff and that the awareness in leadership circles and boardrooms is increasing. We have come far in the last four years, yet there is still some way to go.”

A “Wellbeing in the workplace study” which resulted in a Workplace Wellbeing Index* was carried out in 2016/2017 by the charity Mind who looked at 30 companies and 15,000 employees. Companies were assessed on how well they addressed mental health and whether they effectively support and promote employee well-being. The research of the survey showed that companies creating the right environment for their staff had a positive impact on employees’ health and wellbeing, as well as their job satisfaction and productivity levels.

Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index page states “every employer depends on having healthy and productive employees – valued and supported staff are far more likely to deliver the best outcomes for your business. If you want to attract and retain committed employees, prioritising the mental health of your staff needs to be core business in your organisation. Our Workplace Well-being Index is a benchmark of best policy and practice. It will help you find out where you are doing well and where you could improve your approach to mental health in the workplace.”

Addressing staff well-being requires you to bring together a number of factors within your Kent or London office refurbishment e.g. it’s important to recognise that staff need an office space they can feel comfortable in, they need workspaces that allow them to collaborate or give them privacy when it’s required; natural light also plays an important role along with “down-time areas” where staff can relax and recharge, away from their workspace and desk.

The Right Workspace

Making sure employees have the right workspace in the office to do their jobs is vital to health and well-being. One of the ways this can be achieved is by setting out your office space to use an Activity Based Working (ABW) layout. This provides a choice of different types of work settings, each of which are designed for a different task e.g. individual workstations, team/collaboration zones, quiet areas, break out spaces etc. Interestingly ABW layouts also encourage staff to move around and be more active during the work day which in itself also plays a role in employee health.

Natural Light, Air Quality and Biophilic Design

When carrying out an office refurbishment design, it’s important to utilise as much natural light as is possible.

In the Mind Wellbeing Index (mentioned previously) over ¾ of companies whose focus was on supporting staff well-being, reported that their office design encouraged the use of natural light.
Research carried out by the International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment in 2016 which looked at a range of issues including natural light, indoor air quality, thermal comfort, visual comfort and acoustic comfort showed that lighting and air quality at work can have considerable effects on brain function and productivity. Poor lighting can result in headaches, eye strain, and tiredness, contributing to stress and increased levels of anxiety and depression.

A further study which looked at the effects of Natural Elements and Sunlight on Employee Mental Health and Work Attitudes showed that natural elements (e.g. greenery and running water) and sunlight exposure “related positively to job satisfaction and organisational commitment, and negatively to depressed mood and anxiety. Direct sunlight was a dominant predictor of anxiety; indirect sunlight was a dominant predictor of depressed mood, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment.”

Greenery within the workplace was shown to have a positive influence on staff mood. As well as the study above, other studies have shown that introducing natural elements into the workspace can help reduce stress. Many plants also provide a natural way of filtering office air by cleaning the air of pollutants, helping to increase office air quality and regulate humidity levels.

Some companies have taken the idea of introducing plants into the office even further by incorporating “living walls” (an office wall often constructed of modular panels which are partially or completely covered with plants and which includes soil, water or a substrate). Living walls have the advantage of not taking up floor space.

Utilising natural materials like wood and stone in office designs can also promote a stress free environment, as can colour schemes that mimic nature such as greens, browns, oranges and more neutral tones.

Keeping an Uncluttered Office Space

There is nothing worse than entering or working in a cluttered office. It can make it look disorganised, over worked and under staffed.

Clutter is distracting and it can affect your ability to focus and be productive. It most certainly won’t help with staff well-being. Instead a tidy office which is free of clutter is more welcoming and sets the right tone.

In order to tackle clutter you should consider the many storage options that are available including floor to ceiling storage walls or bespoke storage specifically built to fit your office, using space that would otherwise go to waste to help keep clutter under control.

Just a few of the above ideas will go a long way to helping your staff’s well-being and productivity.

* You can register an interest in the 2019 Mind Workplace Well-being Index.

How We Can Help

JBH Refurbishments can provide expert advice on Kent and London office refurbishment which will benefit staff health and well-being. Contact us on 0333 207 0339 or via our contact form to discuss your requirements and let us help you find the perfect office refurbishment for your business.

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