April 28th marks “World Day for Safety and Health at Work”.
The global event has been observed by the International Labour Organisation since 2003, and is celebrated each year by national authorities, trade unions, employers’ organisations and health and safety practitioners across the world.
This campaign aims to ensure that workers have the right facilities to be productive in a safe, stimulating work environment. Increasingly, property developers are taking into account the effects that building design and changing work habits can have on the health of an organisation’s employees and are designing buildings which promote a healthy work-play dynamic.
For those organisations looking to create a healthier, happier and more motivated workforce, it’s never been more important to create an engaging working environment. While experimentation with novelty office features such as fireman’s poles, bean bags and hammocks is a growing trend, the best working spaces are those that simply fit the needs of employees.
Advances in technology mean that office culture no longer revolves around the traditional 9 to 5 working day. As a result, many organisations aspire to provide their employees with the devices, facilities and services they need to be able to work in an environment that can accommodate their personal requirements.
According to architect Ken Shuttleworth, “People spend up to 45 years of their lives occupying these spaces, and they deserve better. Anyone who works in an office deserves a space that makes them feel good, that delights them, that creates community. Form should follow the needs of the end user. We need to remember who we’re ultimately building for.”
The offices in Derwent London’s White Collar Factory development, for example, offer an abundance of natural light and natural ventilation, as well as Wired Certified Platinum connectivity. In Birmingham, AshbyCapital’s Colmore Building offers its occupants a wide range of amenities including a gym, treatment rooms, and luxury changing rooms, with free Wi-Fi available throughout its communal areas.
As flexible working becomes an everyday reality, there’s a growing realisation of the connection between an employee’s working environment and their overall wellness.
April 28th offers us a good opportunity to pause and take stock of where we work, and where we’d want to work. Whether it’s providing more natural lighting, greater amenities, or world-class connectivity, it’s critical that designers, developers and business leaders alike create quality workspaces to empower their occupiers.