Our friends at Aberley workplace experts recently invited us to a fantastic seminar on ‘Healthy Workplaces and Cultures’, hosted by Kinnarps furniture at their Farringdon showroom. It was a stimulating and thoughtful presentation by two leading wellness protagonists - Professor Emeritus Derek Clements-Croome of Reading University and Ann Marie Aguilar of IWBI-WELL Faculty. Here are some of the key points that resonated with us…..

  • 131 Million sick days cost the uk £16bn in 2015, during which each employee was off work sick for an average for 6.5 days

  • Research from Reading University, Vromwell Hispital and otehrs shows up to 70% of the current epidemic of workplace wellbeing issues are caused by the workplace enviroment; 90% of us say that our feelings about worka re adversely affected by poor workplace quality.

  • The Greeen council report "Health, Wellbeing an Productivity in offices" highlighted the impact of office design on employees. Yet, arguably due to a lack of mesurable, collated ata, too many buildings still perform poorly.

  • the new Well building standard offers a wide range of medically-based criteria and performance-based measurements for integratin uman health into the built enviroment.

Key areas of concern are:

Lighting

Full-spectrum, polarised lighting should be installed (now standard in new office buildings)

Clean Air

A proper maintenance regime for air conidtioning systems is essential to manage carbon dioxide levels and reduce airborne contaminants

Workplace ergonomics

Avoi issues created by poor posture; encourgage people to take regular breaks and if possible supply height-adjustable desks so that posture can be vaired. Chairs should have a 'dynaic artiuclated' action which encourages postural change

Acoustics

A high noise level creates stress. In open-plan offices it's easy to distracted, especially by human voices Sound-absortbent materials can help to reduce reflection and reverberation, soaking up 'sound energy'. A sound-masking system reduces distraction by reducing the intelligibility of conversations.

Other factors that can affect perception of wellness include Synthetic fibres (Can cause respiratory and skin irritation), Colours (Can affect mood) and potentially Electro-Magnetic Radiation

Professor Clements-Croome suggests that addressing these areas has the potential to reduce adverse sympotys by 80% and increase productivity by 30%

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