Open-plan offices support worker health

We’re proud of our interior design schemes across all our serviced offices in Manchester and London, which include features like open-plan areas, light and bright decoration, and comfy breakout rooms when you need to take a moment to yourself.

Our interiors are based on a deep understanding of what works well in workplace design, and recently published research continues to support our design decisions.

The upcoming January 2021 edition of the journal Building and Environment includes an article by a team from Australia, China and Japan, looking at “office spatial design attributes, sitting, and face-to-face interactions”.

It is based on studies that predate the COVID-19 pandemic, and it provides useful insights that can be applied with caution now, and more confidently in the post-pandemic era.

Open-plan encourages mobility

One of the key findings of the study is that open-plan offices encourage employees to move around – when social distancing permits this in the workplace.

“Workers in open-plan offices appear to have shorter overall sitting time and shorter bouts of sitting, compared to those in closed offices,” the authors write.

This helps to combat some of the main health hazards of a sedentary working environment:

  • Over 75% of working hours are typically spent sitting down
  • Much of this time consists of periods longer than 30 minutes each
  • Risks associated with prolonged sitting range from obesity to chronic illness

By giving employees the space they need to get up from their desk, you help them to stay healthy for longer, reducing your exposure to employee absence for musculoskeletal problems and other illness.

This is particularly pertinent in light of COVID-19, which has been found to affect overweight individuals and those with certain other underlying health conditions more severely.

Working closely and safely

The events of 2020 have created new paradoxes for the workplace: an increase in office-based employees working from home, a contradiction between working closely with colleagues while also socially distancing, and so on.

Open-plan offices can help to overcome these immediate (and hopefully short-term) challenges.

Fewer partitions mean office space can be reconfigured relatively quickly and easily in line with changes to the COVID-secure recommendations, such as when the two-metre rule was replaced with ‘one metre plus’.

At the same time, our serviced offices in Manchester and London are not completely open coworking spaces – your staff are separated from other tenants in the same building, so workplace bubbles are not compromised.

This is the best compromise for the current situation, allowing colleagues to work together while observing the appropriate minimum distance apart, at least until conditions improve and teams can work face-to-face and up close again.

Find out more

If you are keen to set up a COVID-secure workplace in our serviced offices in London and Manchester, or you’re already planning ahead to the post-pandemic era that will hopefully arrive in spring-summer 2021, we want to hear from you.

Get in touch as soon as possible and we can discuss exactly what you need, so that we can make sure we provide you with the best serviced office space in Manchester or London to underpin your growth and productivity in the months and years to come.

Serviced offices hit the sweet spot of employee comfort

Many of the design features in our serviced offices in London and Manchester are there for the comfort and wellbeing of our clients – and to keep employees comfortable and motivated during the working day.

In a newly published article in the journal Management Review Quarterly, Yvonne Schmid and Michael Dowling, both of the University of Regensburg in Germany, examine the impact of a range of workplace technologies.

These include computers, mobile devices and other internet-enabled equipment, but also aspects of workplace design like room layout and office furniture.

Among them are many of the elements you’ll find in our serviced offices, which is testament to the careful planning we put into all of our office interiors.

The importance of ergonomic office chairs

You might not think of office furniture as an example of workplace technology, but the ergonomic furniture provided in our serviced offices in Manchester and London plays an important role in ensuring employee comfort throughout the working day.

At the same time, we strive to hit the ‘sweet spot’ and ensure that employees are able to stay alert right to the end of their shift.

The researchers note the importance of finding this middle ground: “A physically uncomfortable workplace design leads to dissatisfaction, while a too-plushy workplace leads to employees feeling too comfortable and even lazy.”

Ergonomic office furniture is not about encouraging people to fall asleep at their desk, but is about giving them the ability to adjust their seat height and avoid aches and pains.

Breakout rooms offer relaxation

When employees want to take some time away from their desk, our comfortable breakout rooms provide slightly more casual space to give the feeling of having stepped away from work for a few minutes.

Our serviced offices in London and Manchester are located adjacent to water, allowing workers to take a walk outside and clear their head during or after a stressful day at work.

It’s important to give employees control over their environment, whether that’s the option to take a break outside, or a quiet space to sit for a couple of minutes before getting back down to work.

“The feeling of control over one’s individual environment can in fact enhance motivation, while a lack of control may lead to discomfort and demotivation,” the researchers write.

Comfort from the inside out

Finally, it’s crucial for employees to stay hydrated and nourished, but in a busy environment it can be tempting to skip lunch or to work for long periods without taking a tea or coffee break.

To combat this – and to keep your workforce hydrated and thinking clearly until the very end of the day – we provide complimentary beverages in our serviced offices in Manchester and London, as well as kitchen facilities for employees to prepare drinks and basic meals of their own.

It’s all about finding that sweet spot, where employees’ snacks and drinks boost energy levels and hydration, without taking away productivity, to give you a workplace that maximises output from everyone on-site.