With office workers spending long hours at their desk, choosing the right furniture design and office layout is crucial to productivity and wellbeing says Mark Brown, Owner of specialist furniture suppliers Lismark. Here he offers advice on how to improve an office space.
Employers and managers have a duty of care to the people who work under their direction. This includes creating a work space that is conducive to the promotion of the health and wellbeing of the people who work there. To achieve that requires an investment in the right furniture, as well as ensuring that the basics of sufficient light, ventilation and rest breaks are all in place. In fact, some organisations have taken this a step further by implementing initiatives such as flexible working, in-house exercise classes and fruit baskets.
Of course, budgets can be tight in many organisations, so is it really worth spending the money? When making the decision it's important to remember that a healthier working environment has great productivity benefits too. Issues like back pain are a significant factor in staff absence and so an investment in the right furniture can actually reduce illness and absence- as well as helping to retain key staff who feel cared for and valued.
If your office space has been unchanged for years, it might be a good time to take a fresh look at the layout and organisation, as well as the furnishings to see if improvements can be made.
Why sit when you can stand?
It sounds strange, but a standing desk can actually prove to be a very comfortable solution and help alleviate common musculoskeletal problems such as neck, back and shoulder pain. People now spend more time than ever before sitting down, which creates significant health issues. In fact, a recent AXA PPP Healthcare poll of 2000 workers discovered that almost half spend 4-6 hours per day sitting down at work, with 70 per cent suffering from musculoskeletal issues. Sit-stand desks provide an ergonomic and movement-friendly solution and can help to both alleviate these issues, and prevent them occurring.
Want to break free?
Everyone needs to take a break and creating a third space away from desks and formal meeting rooms is important. Of course, it does depend on the space available, but with a bit of imagination, it should be possible to create a comfortable breakout area for people to brainstorm, have an informal catch-up or just take a break from their desks. Not every discussion warrants the booking of a meeting room, so a breakout area is an ideal alternative. Even if space is tight, suitable areas can often be found by getting creative with spaces like corridors and landings. Modular seating, high sofas and acoustic pods are effective and practical choices of furniture for breakout areas.
Using acoustic pods to transform a space
Putting dividers between desks is the traditional solution to reduce noise and offer privacy in the office, however the clue's in the name; these are divisive and create a cluttered, unwelcoming atmosphere. However, although open-plan spaces look and feel great, they present issues in terms of privacy and noise. This is where acoustic pods come in. Available in a huge range of styles and sizes, acoustic pods are also a great talking point and are always a popular place to hold meetings or get on with a task without being uninterrupted at busy times. Acoustic pods can blend in seamlessly or, as with our bestselling Beach Hut, can make a real design statement.
Investing in good-quality modern furniture and creating a great workspace makes a powerful statement about your brand, how you want to be seen by others and how you value the people who work there. In short, everybody wins. So, make time in your day to take stock of your office layout and see if it can be improved for everyone's benefit.