World Mental Health Day, on 10 October, raised the profile of initiatives to combat stress, anxiety and depression in the workplace.
The average person could spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime, and office layout, noise/acoustics, level of daylight, temperature, air quality and ventilation can all have a dramatic effect on our wellbeing.
Style Partitions is the UK market leader for moveable walls, specialising in creating flexible space and working with architects to deliver ingenious room configurations that help influence concentration, collaboration, confidentiality and creativity.
According to Style’s group managing director, Julian Sargent, wellbeing in the workplace is being considered far more when it comes to adaptable work space and, for both new builds and refurbishments, there is far greater focus on its importance.
“With moveable walls, there has always been a focus on acoustics, ease of manoeuvre, light, and the manner in which space can be easily adapted,” said Julian.
“But now we’re seeing greater emphasis on making the workspace even more beneficial to employees’ wellbeing.
“Take, for example, our innovative ‘working walls’ solution that promotes collaborative workspace, informal gatherings and vibrant exchanges of ideas. A big step away from being locked in a formal, claustrophobic meeting room for hours, these walls offer a more open and flexible work culture, remove the usual barriers of meeting rooms, segregated work desks and cubicles, and offer companies a space where individuals can group together, team up quickly on projects, share ideas and change their environment to suit the task in hand.
“Quite simply, they are a cluster of individual moveable wall panels that can be used in isolation to create one simple screen, or be pulled together for a wider temporary wall.
“Very simple to operate, and also acting as a magnetic white board or fabric pin board, they can be moved into place, locked, and pivoted as required, which means they can swivel round during breakout sessions to share ideas with adjoining groups during brainstorms or impromptu gatherings.
“Natural light is also very important, and demand for glazed moveable wall systems is on the up. When you have a large open plan office, with lots of daylight, you can use glazed moveable wall systems to quickly create private meeting rooms while retaining that open plan, airy and well lit feel, so that people don’t feel trapped in a windowless room for hours.
“For occasions when extra privacy is needed, we have magic glass solutions, which turn clear glass into smoked glass at the push of a button, and we offer vertically rising blinds within double-glazing that come up from the bottom and can stop at head or shoulder height. This means light can still filter in from above, but people walking past can’t see in.
“Many businesses recognise the need to promote better wellbeing in the workplace, but find it difficult because office space is often at a premium and, as they grow, the density of desks and people rises making it more cramped, stressful and oppressive.
“That’s where flexible and clever design can help, and many of our moveable wall solutions lend themselves towards shared, collaborative workspaces by using space more efficiently which can help to enhance wellbeing.”