Workplace Design & Management February / March 2016

February 19, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 18/02/2016. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.



Our colleagues at Bakker Elkhuizen are carrying out pan-European research into regional labour markets. They have asked us to identify a small number of senior UK managers for a confidential interview. Their researcher is exploring current and future organisational challenges in relation to staff working environments, smart and flexible working and work-life balance. If you would be interested in participating (or in receiving a copy of the research in due course), please email me.


Workfit-TIf you are still thinking about how (or if) you are going to implement sit-stand working in the office, Workfit-T is one of the best alternatives to a free-standing workstation. Whether you want to run a flexible pilot or offer a sit-stand alternative for a bench desking system, its ease of installation and use make this the ideal candidate in most cases. It is available in two sizes and in black or white. More information here.



Our Dutch friends at Efficiency Software have just updated CtrlWORK to offer even more benefits to computer users. At a glance this looks like a simple programme to encourage breaks but it is much more sophisticated than that. Especially popular in the public sector and financial institutions, it encourages wellbeing and improves productivity. For those working away from the office, it is a valuable tool to help individuals manage their own health, safety and wellbeing. CtrlWORK is just one part of the Efficiency Software suite, which also includes Sit-Stand Coach and Alt-Mouse. If you would like to talk in more detail, please contact us.


questions250pxIn the last week, we have been asked about on-site massage, diversity training, lighting design and space planning consultancy – an eclectic  mix! Our policy has always been to be really good at what we specialise in and, for everything else, find partners who are really good at what they specialise in. We are always happy to field any question and, where we do not already have an established partner, we may simply provide you with the phone number and email address of a specialist. Do you have a thorny issue to resolve? Why not ask me? You have nothing to lose but a couple of minutes of your time!


TheColourWorksWe have been working with The Colour Works for over ten years, both within the business and with clients. They understand that all great organisations have, at their core, great people who truly understand themselves and adopt a genuine desire to collaborate. We have teamed up with The Colour Works to change the way people work together by embedding a solid understanding of self through an accessible and memorable colourful model of behaviour. You can find out more about your style (and that of your difficult colleague) here.

Sit-Stand Workstations in the UK

February 11, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 10/02/2016. You can view older eBulletins here and register to receive them monthly.



Recently, I was asked about what employers are doing with sit-stand workstations and this prompted an overview of how I see the UK market at the moment. Whether you are already 100% sit-stand, carrying out user trials, starting a partial implementation or (like the vast majority of UK employers) still thinking about it, I hope this article may prove useful.


WinAWorkfitTWe are now finalising our plans for Health & Wellbeing @Work at the NEC on March 8-9. We shall be showcasing sit-stand products including Motus (our full range sit-stand desk for under £500 + VAT) and the new, wider Workfit-TL sit-stand adaptor. We shall be giving away a Workfit-T (in black or white) to one lucky visitor. In addition, we shall be celebrating the launch of our new Handheld Devices Posture Guidance (see below) with a range of stands and adaptors for tablets and smartphones. See us on Stand 102 – just inside the main entrance.



January used to be the month in which manufacturers increased prices but several have now moved this event to March and April. If you are thinking about any significant purchases in the near future, please ensure we discuss pricing as soon as possible to guarantee that any increases can be absorbed. Along with other parts of the industry, we are already seeing a significant upturn in sales volumes in 2016 so there is also a risk of extended lead times on some products.


HandheldDevicesIn last month’s eBulletin, we released the results of our Tablet User Survey and I am pleased to announce that Gail Portingale of Bristol City Council was the participant who won the prize draw for a Tablet Riser and M870 Bluetooth Mini Keyboard.  In response to the many questions we are asked about tablet and smartphone use, we have also published our Handheld Devices Posture Guidance which is available as a free pdf download here.


WorkplaceDesign&ManagementIn case you missed it last month, we have just launched a second monthly email newsletter covering more facilities-related topics. This will focus less on individual needs and physical ergonomics and more on programmes, resources and products to address the collective needs of the whole workforce. We do not register you automatically but, if you think it may be of interest, you can see the first edition and subscribe here.

Sit-stand workstations in the UK

February 8, 2016

Recently, I was asked about what employers are doing with sit-stand workstations and this prompted an overview of how I see the UK market at the moment. Whilst subjective, I hope it provides some useful indicators.

In the United States, there has been a strong move to 100% sit-stand in new installations. As a result, this has been reflected in many US-owned companies in Europe.

Motus_HeightDemo_LoResFor other organisations, the picture is much more diverse.

Most large organisations have been using at least some sit-stand workstations for several years in cases where individuals are unable to sit for long periods (typically as a result of a workstation assessment or medical evidence). More widespread use is still comparatively uncommon in the UK. Beyond the (very small) minority who are adopting the 100% sit-stand approach, strategies fall broadly into these categories:

  • Suck It and See – trying small numbers to test user feedback. Typically, these will be individual workstations (one per department or work group) or small clusters (2-4 units).
  • End of the Aisle – a pair of face-to-face sit-stand workstations on the end of each bank of standard desks.
  • Fixed Percentage – a specific proportion of all workstations to be sit-stand. Most commonly, this is 10-20%

ergofit-tEnd of the Aisle and Fixed Percentage programmes nearly always use complete desks but the Suck It and See fraternity often use sit-stand adaptors for rapid deployment and maximum flexibility. The adaptors are also popular where bench desking systems limit or eliminate the possibility of easy sit-stand desk replacements.

Sooner rather than later, employers should formulate a strategy – even if it is a ‘no sit-stand’ policy – to ensure there is a consistent approach to requests from individuals. This ensures the organisation is prepared for employee demands such as ‘My physio says I must have a sit-stand desk’ or ‘It says in the paper that the way I have to work is killing me’.

Most important, employers need to recognise that implementing any sort of sit-stand programme brings a culture change to the workplace because installing sit-stand is as much about the concept as it is about the product. As a result, proper training and education is essential. This should cover not just how to adjust a desk but why users should do that and what they should be trying to achieve.

Motus_ConsoleUseCloseUpLoResFinally, and contrary to much of the publicity around this topic, this whole issue is not about standing more but about sitting less. To be fully effective, therefore, sit-stand should be part of a broader wellbeing initiative that encourages more movement.

You can find further information and more of my articles about sit-stand and related topics here. I would also love to know your own views.

Workplace Design & Management January / February 2016

February 2, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Ergonomics newsletter at 11:00 on 26/01/2016. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.



Wherever you look, people will tell you that the workplace is changing and doing so faster than ever before. Employers face a ‘triple whammy’ of omnipresent internet access, rapidly developing mobile technology and employee demands for better work-life integration. The best talent will always migrate to organisations offering the most dynamic work environment and that environment must now be both real and virtual. For many of us, the work ‘place’ is no longer a physical location: it is simply defined by an IP address. As Smart Working becomes more established, employers can meet the expectations of their personnel whilst reducing costs and improving sustainability – another ‘triple whammy’! In this monthly eBulletin, we shall explore ideas, resources and products to address this evolving scenario.


PAS3000In November 2015, the British Standards Institute published this comprehensive ‘Publicly Available Specification’ document which addresses the creation and management of Smart Working environments. Whether you are just starting to implement Smart Working or your programme is well established, this PAS provides guidance and recommendations on topics as diverse as culture change, wellbeing, technology and the pros and cons of desk-sharing solutions. You can find more information here.



Many chair manufacturers claim to offer models for intensive use but few examples stand the test of time. In 24 hour environments, the demands on workplace seating are much more than three times those of a normal ‘8 hour’ office chair. The RH Logic Elite is the latest incarnation of the highly successful, easily adjustable, outstandingly comfortable and extremely robust 24 hour chair from Scandinavian Business Seating. With a choice of back heights and seat pans, this is the ultimate chair for intensive use. Other options include neck supports and upholstered armrests with extra padding. The function and quality are so good that the manufacturers include a five year warranty for 24 hour use. Further information here.


tsunami250pxMany of the demands and expectations of the millennial generation are quite different from any before them. The way they expect to work and the way they need to be managed add further layers of complexity to the changing workplace. We refer to this new generation as a tsunami because it’s coming, it’s enormous, it’s unstoppable and it’s potentially overwhelming if not recognised and addressed. Our free webinar on Friday February 19, 2016 provides further insight into what to expect and how to manage it. Find out more and book here.

DOING GREAT WORK WELL – FLEXIBILITY.CO.UK has been a pioneer of smart and flexible working since before these terms became widely used. For over 20 years, it has been run by Andy Lake who is currently advisor to the UK Cabinet Office on Smart Working. Andy is also the author of PAS 3000 (see above). His approach is captured in his management book Smart Flexibility (Gower Publishing, 2013) and the Smart Working Handbook (available as a free download from He regularly shares his extensive knowledge and experience in articles and as an entertaining speaker on the future of work and workplaces.

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