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.

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