This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 17/08/2017. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.
Our workplace environment impacts our wellbeing and productivity. Lots of research tells us this and there are endless articles about the design of space, light, temperature, acoustics, furniture and buildings themselves. The more holistic articles (and enlightened employers) embrace diet and exercise too. Perhaps I am reading the wrong articles but there seems to be comparatively little about training. Some of the key issues (light, temperature and acoustics, for example) will directly affect individuals without any proactive participation. Other key factors will require Behaviour Change to make a significant difference or even, in some cases, make any difference at all. Engagement specialists understand this and Behaviour Change experts help employers make this happen but it often seems to be forgotten that we are creatures of habit. Unless encouraged, aided or cajoled, we default to acting as we always have, whatever the changes to our environment. Let us hear more about the essential education and support necessary to optimise the use of our work environments. If you are a specialist in these disciplines – or know where to find the articles I am missing, please let me know!
Does your organisation use the staff restaurant just for eating or as an ad hoc meeting place? Are your catering facilities simply a refuelling station for your own people or a hospitality area for visitors? Do you prefer circular tables or will long rectangular benches increase the likelihood of serendipitous meetings? Will you need power sources for laptops and handheld devices? Ready access to healthy food is a crucial element of today’s wellbeing focus and properly planned catering facilities provide a multi-functional space which can enhance staff engagement and improve communications. The furnishing of any hospitality area needs to consider the scope of use as well as the corporate brand and ethos. This link provides a handful of examples and we can suggest many more depending on the answers to these and other questions.
It is ironical that perching, the ‘third way’ in the sit-stand conversation, first became topical a few decades ago during discussions about standing too much! Historically, there have been many logical applications for perching in manufacturing environments as a way to reduce the standing time for machine operators and process personnel without the productivity loss which can arise from frequent changes between sitting and standing. You will also see perching stools in galleries and museums so that attendants do not have to stand for their entire shift. [read more]
We are currently reviewing our cyber security procedures and data protection systems. Two key factors stand out: you are only as strong as your weakest link and the list of devices, apps, processes and systems to be part of the review seems endless. Reflecting on the former, it comes as no real surprise that the WannaCry attack on the NHS and other organisations was so effective. It only needs one individual to unknowingly open an unsafe item on apparatus that has not been fully maintained to expose a weakness. Keeping your systems updated and ensuring all your personnel take personal responsibility for their own devices is a full-time challenge!