For many people who have desk-based jobs, the day can go by without them doing much movement from their desk. This will place strain on their backs, wrists, eyes and neck, as well as potentially increasing their weight. Neglecting physical health will, in turn, affect mental health; leading to low moods, a productivity downturn, illness and absenteeism. Not what the business needs and definitely not what any employee wants to feel!

This is why it’s important for office space planning to be shaped towards looking after the health and wellness of employees, as well as their own personal working preferences. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll have to constantly interrupt their working day (or personal lives) to attend fitness classes; encouraging movement during the working day can be done in a number of simple ways.

Intelligent office space planning: How to encourage movement in the office

In recent years, many forward-thinking businesses have been introducing specialist furniture (such as ergonomic chairs and desks) and dedicated facilities (breakout rooms, kitchens, even gym and fitness suites) in their office designs. This office space planning is just half of the job done, however. Employers must actively encourage their staff to understand the worth of looking after their whilst health in-work.

So without further ado, here are some tips on increasing movement within the office:

  • The commute. Since 1999, the ‘cycle-to-work’ scheme has proved popular for many businesses who want to promote healthier journeys to work. The scheme allows employers to loan cycles and associated safety equipment to their employees as a tax-free benefit. The employee is encouraged to cycle to work and keep fit, the employer cultivates a caring reputation (and benefits from healthy employees and a tax break), and the government may potentially save on costs that would have otherwise been spent on NHS treatments associated with unhealthy lifestyles. Everyone’s a winner.

    For some people though, cycling to work just won’t be feasible, so businesses should encourage their employees to walk more during their commute. This could mean getting off the bus/tram/tube a stop earlier and walking the extra bit, or even just taking the stairs instead of the lift every day. It’s a small step, but many small steps will eventually equal a big one.
  • Taking ‘active breaks’. We all know work can get stressful at times, so what’s the best way to manage that stress? Just sit there, trying to find a way through our current flump? No, a much better way would be if we took ourselves away from this stressful environment into a new one; one that doesn’t scream WORK at us, so we can just recollect our thoughts. This is why facilities such as breakout rooms are becoming popular in modern office space planning; they offer a different, extra-comfortable environment for people to relax and calm in, to chat and connect with others in, boosting their confidence as a result. If a business can put that breakout room as far away from the working area(s) as they can, the employee will have to do a bit more walking to get there too!
  • Working out at lunch. A great way to enjoy lunch and to get moving would be by taking more walks during lunchtime. Whether it’s for a stroll to that nice cafe down the (long) road or a relaxing sit-down in the park to eat their pre-prepared meals; getting people outside and experiencing fresh air and nature will be great for their health too.
  • Sit-stand desks. Another growing trend within office space planning is the introduction of standing desks that can be adjusted to any height the user needs it to be; even to sit down! Sit-stand desks eliminate the need for an employee to adjust their posture into an unnatural position and also helps them to avoid prolonged sitting. They provide employees with ample space to make exercise a standard part of their day, as their ability to move will happen naturally whilst they work.
  • Desk workouts. Undertaking a quick minute of exercise whilst sat/stood at a desk doesn’t seem like too much, yet doing it regularly can be beneficial for health and wellness. Rolling both shoulders in a circular motion, twisting the body’s core from side-to-side, circling the wrists, flexing and extending the legs and tilting the head from side-to-side to stretch the neck, are all simple exercises that anyone could do. Adding these subtle desk workouts between starting new tasks is a great way to refresh concentration too.
  • Don’t wait, move! Whether it’s waiting around for a meeting or hovering about the kitchen waiting for lunch to be cooked, any time stood still should be seen as an opportunity to move about, pacing up-and-down or stepping the feet will awaken the body and get a bit of extra exercise into an employee’s day. If the office space planning allows for plenty of space between rooms, then it makes this task all the easier!
  • Keep hydrated. Whilst not strictly an exercise, hydrating the body with water has a huge positive effect throughout the day. With the brain being made up of 73% of water, hydrating helps the mind to think, focus, concentrate and to stay alert; providing a mental boost in brainpower and energy, perfect to take on a heavy workload. Introducing something as simple as a water cooler will help to provide hydration and even allow for people to chat around it about work, away from the often-stressful desk.

Create your ideal office interiors, with Oaktree

If you’re looking to take a new approach with your office space planning, to better cater to the health and wellness of your employees, the experienced office design team here at Oaktree Interiors can help.

For over 30 years, we have been creating bespoke work environments for a myriad of businesses; from recent start-ups, looking to make a mark in their industry, to established firms that are looking to reimagine the impact that their interiors have. No matter your requirements or line of work, we have a proven track record of working closely with our clients to achieve their ideal fit out.

To learn more about our service, which includes a FREE no-obligation consultancy, please do not hesitate to give us a call today on 0345 21 86955. Alternatively, you can contact us by e-mail at hello@oaktreeoffice.com

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