According to a new report by office furniture manufacturer Steelcase, office workers in the UK do not value their company culture as much as workers in other countries.

It’s a valid observation when you consider the growth of remote working and rising numbers of people working independently with a variety of companies on a freelance or consultant basis.

So how can companies engage with and get the best out of their full-time staff and freelancers? Being a valued member of staff and implementing wellbeing initiatives appears to be the answer. Although workplace wellbeing is subjective to the type of organisation, its current culture and what’s already in place, people do feel more engaged and loyal when they are valued.

With that in mind, here are our top ten workplace wellbeing initiates that when implemented gradually can enhance any organisations culture, it’s environment and the happiness and longevity of your staff.

Pretty offices1. Utilising the senses 

By introducing scent, colour and plant life into the workspace environment, you can make the workplace a more positive place to work. Dr Chris Knight and his fellow psychologists at Exeter University concluded that employees were 15% more productive when workspaces are filled with a few houseplants. So go ahead, and encourage nature into the workspace, like flowers on reception or how about a living wall in the office like those from Biotecture?

Music can increase dopamine in the brain increasing productivity. Although music isn’t for everyone and can distract those working on trickier financials in the workspace, others do find certain genres of music useful for increasing their creativity. By encouraging those who work better with music to listen via headphones or introducing music into areas like the reception you can improve the mood of your staff and visitors.

Beyond music, sound also has an impact on staff productivity. As more offices become open plan spaces, privacy can become an issue, especially when colleagues sit very close together to utilise space. With that in mind, consider installing a white noise machine to ensure sound privacy in breakout areas or conference rooms. Although these machines still generate noise, it’s less distracting than hearing co-workers chatting or having a meeting next to you.

2. Colour 

Scientific studies have shown that colours don’t just change our moods, they can affect our productivity.

In a study by the University of Texas, they found that grey, beige and white offices’ induced feelings of sadness and depression, especially in women. Men, however, experienced gloomy feelings in purple and orange workspaces.

Restful shades of green and blue can improve efficiency and focus. They also lend an overall sense of well-being.

Red, is and active and intense colour and increases the heart rate and blood flow upon sight. While mellow yellow, often viewed by psychologists as the shade of optimism, is energetic and fresh. It is believed it can trigger innovation and works well in environments where artists, writers, designers, developers and other creative professionals work.

Decorate your workplace with a vibrant medley of stimulating hues that increase output and spark creativity.

3. Celebrate Failure

You heard right! Accounting software company Intuit gives a special award for the Best Failure and holds “failure parties”. “At Intuit we celebrate failure”, explains co-founder, Scott Cook, “because every failure teaches something important that can be the seed for the next great idea.”

When people fear failure, they’re less likely to creative, innovative ideas or projects.

4. Furniture

Furniture that looks great but is ergonomically designed to aid posture and overall health and wellbeing play an important role in productivity. Equally, sitting down all day is incredibly bad for your staff and their health, so encouraging your employees to move about regularly and placing printer points in an area they will have to walk to, for example, can ensure they’re not causing long-term damage to their health.

Rapport’ source furniture through well-established furniture suppliers during a workspace redesign, relocation or on a stand-alone basis taking into consideration the health, wellbeing and needs of the organisation.

5. Daylight 

Natural light has a profound effect on productivity and work well-being. In a number of studies reduced air control and lighting has been shown to increase sickness levels of staff. So, it’s important to consider lighting aesthetics within your current space, in a future design or office space to maximise the environment.

Sensor technology – according to new research by US furniture giant Haworth sophisticated sensors in the workplace can deliver healthier and happier employees. Sensors can enable workspaces to shape-shift for maximum efficiency, alter temperature and lighting levels, and make adjustments when workers are getting bored or frustrated, thus increasing productivity the report finds.

6. Friendships – mentoring and induction

According to the Trade Journal, Millennials, who do not feel an emotional connection to people within their organisation will look elsewhere until they find it. 98% of Millennials in the UK say that developing close ties with co-workers is important to them.

If fact, having friends and close colleagues is so important it relates strongly to how committed to Millennial feels about business. Many also feel more connected to their organisation if it were not for the teams they were with.

Therefore, encouraging social activities, mentoring programs and even inviting new staff in to meet with their teams and boss before beginning a new job can make them feel part of a team from day one. 

7. Homeworking

Not all businesses can offer homeworking. It’s often subjective to the organisation and role needs. However, those that are in the position to do so should consider this as an opportunity to staff. Cutting down travel time and busy commute for staff once or twice a week for staff can help break up the week. Some, especially those who value concentration for specific tasks find this a great solution to being interrupted at their desks.

Homeworking isn’ for everyone, and there’s a level of trust involved, but for those who feel they’ll value from the work-life balance will enjoy this perk to increase their productivity.

8. Exercise

Regular exercise is hugely important to those who are desk-bound Monday to Friday. Although an office gym is not an option for many organisations, how about a subsidised gym membership with a gym close to the office that people can utilise at lunchtime, before or after work? Equally, encouraging people to get out of the office at lunchtime can increase oxygen to the brain and make them much more productive in the afternoon.

You will also find that many yoga and Pilates teachers will offer classes in the workplace.

The bike to work scheme is also an option you might want to consider.

9. Incentives 

Not in the traditional sense, but rewarding staff for their achievements can encourage better productivity. Friday night drinks or having a summer BBQ, as well as a Christmas party, can also help people to socialise, make friends and enjoy their working environment away from the day to day work.

Budgets permitting, monthly massages and fruit or lunch delivered once a week can offer some additional incentives to staff wellbeing.

10. Personal development

Of course, if an organisations’ work/life balance is not addressed then most of the above becomes redundant. We believe that organisations should provide a balanced environment; that encourages staff to ‘achieve’ with personal development strategies to delivers a culture that will make Monday mornings just that little more bearable for all.

 

If you are interested in working with Rapport’ you can contact us on – 01252 712590 or email us at; info@rapport-solutions.org.uk

View our portfolio of work.

Rapport’s business blog; shortlisted in the 2016 Surrey Digital Awards.

2016 Surrey Digital Awards

The human body is built to move, so it’s no wonder why sitting all day is bad for you.

Although back, numbness and joint pain are noted side effects of many people who work in sedentary desk jobs, general productivity is reduced when we sit down all day. This is due to the lack of oxygen reaching our brains, that reduces the blood flow to organs entering the blood stream through your lungs. For your brain to remain alert and active it requires both blood and oxygen. However, oxygen can be restricted when we’re hunched over our desks curving our backs with rounded shoulders.

Over time, sitting all day also puts huge amounts of pressure on the spine causing wear and tear on our spinal discs and muscles that stretch to accommodate the backs curved position.

Weight Gain

Did you also know that when you sit down all day you temporary deactivate lipoprotein Lipase? This is an enzyme that breaks down fats in the blood. Essentially, by sitting down all day you’re not burning as well as you do when you move.


So how can you reverse the negative effects of sitting all day? 

*Adopt a straight position and spine. This can lessen the impact to your lower back

*Ensure you get up and walk around at least every half an hour or so

*Alternating between both a standing desk with well postured sitting throughout the day, according to much research appears to be the best solution

*Make sure you organise regular DSE assessments with your HR team, especially if you’ve moved desks or you hot desk a lot to check eye levels and that your chair is suitable to your frame. Ergonomic chairs are fluid and flexible, so do get in touch if you’d like us to talk you through the best solutions for your organisation with our top furniture suppliers.

For our top tips for staying active in the office, click here

 

If you are interested in working with Rapport’ you can contact us on – 01252 712590 or email us at; info@rapport-solutions.org.uk

To view our portfolio of work click here.

Rapport’s business blog; shortlisted in the 2016 Surrey Digital Awards.

2016 Surrey Digital Awards

With over 23 years’ experience in the design and fit out market across a whole range of clients; we are asked daily what makes a great workspace design project, and what constitutes the successful execution of an office relocation. We’ve come up with our top 5 to help you with the initial planning stages of your project.

1. Consult your staff

One of the main things we advise our clients to do in the early design and planning stages is to consult with their staff. Your staff will be utilising the new space, so it makes sense to incorporate their input into the final design.

Equally, as more emphasis is made on workplace wellbeing, employers have a duty to adapt an individual’s office space to ensure wellbeing is maintained. A successful design will also aid productivity within the workplace culture.

Rapport’ often work with HR teams to provide employee workshops before the relocation process to help with this process.

2. Future proof your design

Based on advancements in technology and cloud-based working, there is a shift in the traditional 9-5 office-based culture.

With many spending parts of their week working from home, head offices may not need so much space in the future. So, if you’re an organisation looking to increase flexible working then it is worth being mindful of the need for extended space in the future.

As an Employers Agent, we work in support of agents and their clients to future-proof design. During the lengthy process and finer details of the commercial lease, we consider human factors and the building environment in the form of a Time and Space Analysis.

This systematic assessment of how workspace is used over the course of a normal working week, uses quantitative methods such as behaviour mapping and decibel measurement combined with qualitative data to present a picture of how fully a business’s space is utilised.

Example of questions included in the analysis can include:

  1. Staff numbers – will this be more or less in the future? Is there a way of utilising the current workspace? Will all your staff be office based in the future? And do all your staff all need to be office based?
  2. Where are the majority of your staff based?
  3. What’s the business need for staying in the current area?
  4. Could your business save money by moving out of the capital into an area that is well linked via future transportation?
  5. Could technology help downsize the current need for meeting space?
  6. Have you consulted with your employees? Do they require more work/life balance and remote working initiatives?

These can be crucial insights formed from early communication and consultation with staff

3. Utilise all space

The average rent for office space in central London is £55.34 per sq ft. The demand for commercial West End’s property is also high.

For small businesses and organisations looking to reduce their outgoings, renting office space in the capital isn’t sustainable. Many businesses are moving out of the capital, to areas like Hammersmith or South West London where rents are more reasonable. With that in mind, utilising the space you have or looking to rent is crucial.

Pose questions within your planning phase. For example, your reception area. Does it need to be as large as it is? Can it be a multi-purpose space? How about creating meeting area points or break out areas to utilise all the space effectively?

4. Plan ahead

We advise teams to look at projects at least 6-10 months in advance of a move date to identify key questions for the move.

In our experience, we find that clients are less frantic when they’ve identified all their options early on, which can save on costs in the long-term. Equally staff stress, a reaction to the change reduces.

Lease terms and the legalities of securing a new property can also be a lengthy, tricky process. We often oversee this process, on behalf of our client, with their selected commercial agents at the very early stages to identify the key areas that work for staff alongside the business needs. We are very experienced at identifying available properties and the legalities of lease terms in consultation with our clients and on their behalf; this enables our clients to continue with other business matters.

5. An effective moving day

To ensure a smooth office move, you need to be fully organised with extra support teams working with you.  It helps to ensure a smooth transition for your staff to come in, to unpack their box straight away and enable them to start working immediately.

Think about the process logically and organise teams who have clear objectives to make the move seamless throughout the relocation project.

Having Rapport to Project Manage the processes, on your behalf with agents and contractors, enables you to concentrate on other areas of your role, business needs and in the long run, can control costs.

If you would like to consult with on your office relocation or workspace design then Rapport’ contact us on – 01252 712590 or email us at; info@rapport-solutions.org.uk

To view our portfolio of work click here.

Rapport’s business blog; shortlisted in the 2016 Surrey Digital Awards.

2016 Surrey Digital Awards

 

 

 

Red Brick Road are a leading London based integrated advertising agency. Their unique team of brand, digital, data, social and PR specialists deliver unique creative solutions for a broad range of clients.

Rapport recently joined forces with Modus Workspace during the workspace design process to offer our expert project management skills and to help control costs throughout.

Jeanette, Rapports’ Project Director said: “It was a pleasure to be able to work alongside such a young and vibrant company.  Our role was overseeing costs and programme which delivered an office fit-out project to match their quirky, dynamic nature.”

 

Relocated from: Soho to Clerkenwell

Project Management: Rapport Solutions

Design: Modus Workspace

Contractor: Modus Workspace

Programme: 8 weeks

New Office size: 9,192 sqft / 854sqm

3 floors consisting of: Basement / Ground / First

Look & Feel: Industrial / Trendy / Cutting Edge

 

If you are interested in working with Rapport’ you can contact us on – 01252 712590 or email us at; info@rapport-solutions.org.uk

To view our portfolio of work click here.

Rapport’s business blog; shortlisted in the 2016 Surrey Digital Awards.

2016 Surrey Digital Awards