Office – a place that causes or neutralizes modern diseases?

Every year, Polish employees spend some 1,830 hours at work being among highest of European Union countries. The office environment is a special workplace because body position in which the work is carried out. As many as 44% of the surveyed corporate employees complain of back pain[1]. This challenge demanded development of methods to mitigate negative impacts on health, which has taken the form of a new trend in space creation – Activity Based Working. Is such an approach a popular solution implemented in offices? What does implementation of this concept look like in practice?

Genesis of Activity Based Working

From an employee’s perspective, increasingly longer working hours and static and inadequately adapted office interiors are the main factors influencing dissatisfaction with the performance of their work. Long periods of sitting in front a computer monitor or inadequate lighting of desks can also cause occupational health issues. Understanding by employers of the potential impact of the office environment on the health of employees has become a motivation to seek a systemic solution to this problem.

Paradoxically, the more options one has to set the correct position for a chair, desk or lamp, the more awkward employees can feel and the further away they are from an optimal workplace. The solution is not to offer the employee full automation of his environment, but to create such office space that will require the employee to change location and position throughout the day.

Office solutions

Today, employers are more aware of the importance of a healthy employee with a positive attitude towards their workplace in order to optimise the functioning of the organisation. Actions taken with a view to improving the conditions affecting the health and wellbeing of personnel are directed, among others, at creating many zones in the office adapted to the type of activities performed – from non-standard “open space” spaces, through standing workstations, to places where you can use hammocks, bean-bags and large cushions. The overriding idea of interior design is the absence of employee attachment to a single location, so demanding movement during the working day.

Another solution widely used in offices is the arrangement office equipment (printers, shredders, binders, etc.). Equipment should be located in a central place but, at the same time, at a certain distance from desks. The need of employees to use such equipment encourages them to undertake certain activities. Although getting up from their chair and taking a few steps seems a slight effort, yet for posture and well-being even this can be a very positive stimulus to healthy working practice.

Employee  reasonable choice

Nowadays, the option of the Activity Based Working approach is a standard in office space creation. The increase in employer awareness is expressed in the creation of commercial interiors that care for and support employees. The office becomes an attractive element to attract future candidates and effectively reduces staff turnover so helping to retain valuable employees. Properly implemented concept solutions also increase efficiency which translates into high quality output. In connection with the search for appropriate skills in the labour market, can employers afford to give up their advantages and benefits offered by Activity Based Working?

[1] Source: Central Institute of Work Protection

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