After a lengthy tender period, Ozone are proud to announce they have been awarded the a large 6 month project. Based in Reading, the building involved will require a full strip-out. Once this has been completed, we will complete a fit-out that will provide a new rehabilitation centre for children. Work commences in early May.
The modern workspace is almost unrecognisable to what it was just a decade ago. Just as trends change in home decor and within the clothing industry, so does office design. The days of maximum head count are over, today we are looking at the ‘workplace experience’. We are not just becoming more conscious of sustainability, it is now the norm to incorporate sustainable furniture which will connect areas creating a flow rather than acting as stand alone items.
We are also far more aware of the importance of the wellbeing of workers which is also reflected in how designers are creating spaces for the modern office. Specific attention will be paid to enhanced lighting, which can have an enormous positive impact on mental health when designed correctly. Areas will be designated by contrasting designs so that break time for example will feel like genuine time away from the work station; a place to socialise and relax. Areas for fitness, where possible will be incorporated into indoor and outdoor spaces. We are also delighted to see bringing nature indoors with living walls will also increase in popularity.
The main theme we are working to is that well designed, thoughtful and sustainable office space retains staff for the simple reason that they enjoy being in their place of work which ultimately increases productivity. It’s actually a very simple concept which can be adopted in different measures by small and large businesses alike.
Global companies have long being looking after their employees wellbeing in a number of innovative ways. Google has installed climbing walls, mini golf courses and even sleeping pods. There are on-site fitness centres, an array of healthy food options, financial planning advice, substantial parental leave entitlements, medical support and complementary therapies. Employees can also access personal development and learning opportunities tailored to individuals’ interests. Most businesses can’t afford such investment but there are some smaller changes that can make a huge amount of difference.
Jo Allison, an analyst at behavioural insights company Canvas8 says “Employers are beginning to understand that a healthy body makes for a healthy mind, and creates a better community and improves output from their teams. If the boss cares, then others give themselves permission to care too.”
According to government statistics, 26.8 million days were lost due to ill health in the UK in 2017 at a cost to £9.7 billion to businesses. So wellbeing in the office is something to be taken very seriously but how can smaller businesses possibly compete with big companies? Across the country there are an increasing number of innovative ways in which businesses are supporting their staffs’ wellbeing at very little cost. For example, employee incentives firms, such as BHSF, Perkbox and Reward Gateway can offer staff benefits such legal advice and round the clock access to a GP at a low cost to employers. Some firms are implementing a system which bans email after 7pm or offers a weeks paid leave for an employee to pursue an interest. John Dean, managing director at consultants Punter Southall Health & Protection says. “Wellbeing is absolutely something small businesses can both do, and afford,” he says. Whether it’s ensuring staff have proper lunch-breaks, to introducing fitness challenges, or offering flexible working.” he argues there are simple steps SMEs can introduce to significantly impact mental wellbeing in particular – now the leading cause of absenteeism from the workplace.
Some simple steps to consider.
Furniture – ensure it’s comfortable and fit for purpose. This includes break out furniture as well as desk furniture.
Temperature – a flexible climate control system means that employees can adjust the temperature to what suits them.
Outside areas – if you have any outside space, make it an inviting place for employees to use. Some fresh air in the working day can do wonders.
Fitness – not many businesses can afford their own gym but encourage sporting activities such as cycle schemes and gym membership.
Surroundings – plants and artwork has been shown to increase productivity. Chose decoration carefully – colours can have different effects of the feel of an office.
For more information about wellbeing in the workplace, click here.
Ozone have won a fit-out for an office building based in Chippenham for landlords, the Monday Charitable Trust. Works will include the all electrical and mechanical, partitioning, restrooms, meeting points and decorations. The project will take three months to complete.
Refurbishing office buildings designed long before air-conditioning was even a glint in the eye of engineers is the thing of nightmares for office refurbishment companies. The internal structures are stripped back to the core and with low ceilings, little rom is left to install the mechanics demanded in a modern society. A conventional air conditioning system which needs to be installed in the ceiling can take up to 900mm of valuable office space. But if fully conditioned air is fed through zonal units in the floor space and then and recycled it would only need 200-300mm.
The benefits of such are system are extensive. The air-conditioning ducts in the floor space would allow zonal working temperatures for added comfort of individual workers. There would be an improved air-quality as the fresh air would be delivered a floor level rather allowing for a better air flow pattern. Construction costs would be lower for refurbishing buildings as raised flooring is cheaper than creating ceiling space. Improved employee satisfaction as research is being gathered which shows productivity increases when individuals are given greater control of their environment.
For more information on underfloor air-conditioning click here.