By Jason Saville, Commercial Director at BRITA Vivreau
“It’s estimated that professionals spend over 90,000 hours in the office over their lifetime and 44% are at their desks for over seven hours a day. As those who manage office spaces will know, ensuring the working environment promotes a healthy, happy and productive workforce is key. Futureproofing workspaces with effective facilities, as well as innovations in office culture and environment, will help enhance employees’ productivity and overall business success. This is especially important when you consider a 1% happier workforce could boost the UK economy by £24 billion a year .
“Over recent years, we’ve seen a sharp change in the modern-day office, due to evolving expectations of employees, emergence of new technologies and the growing preference for agile working. For facilities managers, there are now a number of emerging trends and altering employee’ demands to consider, all of which will impact productivity levels if not addressed.
“At BRITA Professional, we conducted independent research to identify the key developments changing office spaces across the UK. As part of this, we surveyed 1,000 UK office workers to determine which elements they would like to ‘filter out’ from their working lives – those things that distract them from their passions or limit their efficiency. We also asked 1,000 facilities managers what is important to their office space and what they’d like to see implemented to help improve employees’ health and wellbeing, satisfaction and productivity.
“To support today’s businesses looking to increase productivity levels, nurture employee loyalty and attract talented people, it only takes small changes to the workplace to help employees feel valued. After all, happy employees have shown to be up to 20% more effective in the workplace than unhappy employees. Our research identified the following key changes facilities managers are currently implementing to boost productivity levels:
Health & Wellbeing
“It’s no secret that the health and wellbeing of employees links directly to productivity levels, it’s something which has been widely debated and researched. However, the increased focus within society on healthy lifestyles is putting a greater spotlight on how office environments are supporting and promoting this.
“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to improving welfare in the workplace. One of the biggest challenges faced by those in charge of implementing these initiatives is making it accessible, operational and practical for everyone, whether that’s the senior management team, the workforce, including casual employees and junior members of the team.
“Those in control of health and wellbeing initiatives will know that encouraging employees to drink more water is a priority. We’re all aware of the benefits of staying hydrated, which include preventing headaches and increased concentration levels, to name a few. Our research also found that over a third of office workers say not drinking enough water impacts their productivity . Despite this, it also revealed that over half of office workers drink less than the recommended daily amount of water (two litres). This poses an important question of what impact this is having on employees’ happiness, health and efficiency.
“The barriers that stop us drinking enough water can be attributed to a range of different reasons. First and foremost, our busy lives can sometimes cause us to forget to stay hydrated, even if water is readily available or there’s a full glass on our desk. One way facilities managers could address this is by setting up daily reminders for the workforce, or regularly communicate the benefits of drinking water, so that hydration stays front of mind. Another big factor is the temptation to choose fizzy drinks, however, adding fruit such as cucumber or lemon can give water flavour, while keeping sugar intake down. Fruit stations could be incorporated into office water provision to make it easy and hassle free for employees to add a flourish of flavour.
“When it comes to the physical water facilities, our research shows that 88% of offices provide tap water as one of the main drinking provisions, even though 83% of facilities managers stated that offering filtered water in addition to tap water is seen as an added benefit to employees. What’s more, 77% of facilities managers say that having fresh, filtered water readily available on all floors and close to desks is key to ensuring a healthy and happy workforce. Another way to encourage employees to drink more water, is to incorporate the water provision into a social area with comfy chairs for people to relax, take some time away from their desk and rehydrate. Functional spaces such as this help to empower employees to take responsibility for their own wellbeing, not just at work but in their home lives too.
“Whether it’s flexible hours or flexible working spaces, one thing for sure is that it’s one of the key factors which impact employees’ productivity. In fact, our research found that 61% of employees think it’s the main ingredient for a healthy and happy workforce. This desire isn’t just limited to the younger generation, with 72% of baby boomers, 88% of Generation X and 92% of millennials preferring this way of working.
“Changeable working hours and control over where employees work are some of the most impactful occupational adjustments to emerge in recent years. The need for more freedom has derived from a growing desire to define a working arrangement that suits an individual’s lifestyle. To keep pace with this movement, office spaces are increasingly being designed to create a productive environment, with facilities that enable independent working as well as creative spaces for collaboration.
“It’s not about having an extravagant, multi-story building, rather it’s how the office space is used creatively. From outdoor meeting spaces, on-site child care facilitates and areas to relax and refocus, there are many ways to support productivity levels through the working environment. In particular, our research found that 43% of employees would like access to outside space and natural light to improve their working day.
“Overall, we’ve seen the workplace experience a significant shift in recent years and this is only set to continue. Businesses now need to adopt a new way of thinking and promote a culture of productivity that resonates with the new mindset and behaviours of today’s workforce. For those responsible for the management of office spaces, the next step is to evaluate the impact of current office environments, measure the performance and ask whether it’s designed for the future by making a positive difference to the workforce’s behaviour, health and productivity.”
To download BRITA Professional research report, Life is Better Filtered: Your Working Environment, please visit: https://goo.gl/tPt3oQ