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Height adjustable desks: a boost to health, comfort and productivity

Height adjustable desks: a boost to health, comfort and productivity

<strong>Richard Andrews</strong> Director at Inspiration Office (Pty) Ltd Spending those long hours sitting in the same fixed posture at a desk is doing your body no good and may even be causing long term damage; but the growing adoption of height adjustable desks in South Africa may prove the antidote.Richard Andrews, Managing Director of Inspiration Office, an Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy said people weren't designed to sit at a desk all day. <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> "But we're seeing growing demand for sit stand desks from our clients in South Africa.Giving workers the choice of adjusting the height of a desk can make a big difference helping people to work more helthily and productively as well as relieving back and joint discomfort."   <em>Importance of movement and variation</em> "While a good quality office chair offers great comfort and support, it can only go so far.As a result it's always a good idea to get up out of your chair regularly through the day," noted Andrews.In reality what often happens is we get involved with our work and end up sitting far too long until the aches and pains set in and force us to move.The beauty of sit stand working is it allows you to work in a wide variety of postures that can't be achieved while sitting."It helps to make for a far more natural way of working.And by taking note of our body's signals of fatigue and stress, all that's needed is a change of work position.This wide variation of movement keeps the body more active and healthy," said Andrews. <em>Benefits to office workers</em> Variable height desk workers often report significant benefits when changing from straight sitting all day to this more flexible working method: <ul> <li>It keeps them in better shape physically•It helps to control weight as additional activity burns off excess calories</li> <li>An ability to focus and concentrate more effectively•A greater level of energy•Feeling more engaged in their work</li> <li>A much wider variety of positions, many of which can't be achieved with a chair•Less aches and pains through being more active.</li> </ul> A recent study shows the long-term harm of prolonged sitting. The American Cancer Society undertook a study of 120'000 people with no prior history of serious illness.It discovered mortality rose by 37% for women and 18% for men who worked more than 6 hours a day sitting, when compared to those sitting for less than 3 hours a day. <em>How to fight back against sitting</em> "There is a fundamental difference between the pressures on the body when sitting and standing," said Andrews."When standing, your body's weight is spread through the hips, knees and ankles.Prolonged sitting inflicted undue pressure on the back's discs.A standing position reduces pressure on your back and allows weight to be carried via the legs."A study carried out by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Research Laboratory at Cornell University found computer <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> users noticed a marked decrease in musculoskeletal pain after only 4 to 6 weeks of working at a height adjustable desk.Dr Delgado, a Cape Town based Chiropractor, has advised that we also need to establish a healthy work pattern.Asa rule of thumb, every 30 minutes of work should be spent as follows: <ul> <li>20 minutes sitting</li> <li>8 minutes standing</li> <li>2 minutes moving / stretching</li> </ul> Said Andrews: "Although this way of working is radically different to a conventional office desk, it's clear there is little problem to adapting to it for new users.In fact as the work position is so easy to alter, it makes it very simple to pace yourself and adapt to the new way of working, at a rate that suits you.However, people should always have the choice and work in the way that is most comfortable for them."

Aglet 25th Mar 2019
Don't just sit there: how to beat the silent killers from sitting all day

Don't just sit there: how to beat the silent killers from sitting all day

<strong>Richard Andrews</strong> Director at Inspiration Office (Pty) Ltd   Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns including obesity, metabolic syndrome, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.And there's a direct relationship between time spent sitting and your risk of early mortality of any cause.Richard Andrews, Managing Director of Inspiration Office, an Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy, said that <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> most workers have gotten so used to the notion of sitting all day, they don't think about the damage it could be doing to their bodies."Our analysis shows that people sit in a car or bus to get to work and once there, sit at their desks, sit in meeting rooms and even sit in the canteen for lunch.And what compounds the problem these days, is the culture of answering emails after work hours.""This can easily add an extra hour of sitting to the day.This means workers will typically sit for between 10 and 12 hours a day without even realizing it. And it can have a devastating impact on peoples' health -even if they exercise frequently."One study compared adults who spent less than two hours a day in front of a computer with those who logged more than four hours a day of screen time.   Those with greater screen time had a nearly 50% increased risk of death from any cause and about a 125% increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain (angina) or heart attack.Andrews added that if there was ever doubt of the effects of sitting, most people 'shrink'during the day. The reason lies in the vertebral column, specifically in the inner part of the vertebral disc. The discs in the spine are composed of a gelatin-like material which provides cushioning and protection to the spine. <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> "It's your body's shock absorber. And with the pounding your vertebrae take during the day as a consequence of sitting, it needs time to rest, rejuvenate and elongate again. Sitting for hours literally causes us to shrink a little during the work day.""There is however a simple way to combat the negative effects of sitting on our health," Andrews noted.   "People in offices should take a movement break every 30 minutes.No matter how much you exercise, you still need to do this.Research shows that people who sat for less then 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of early death."Andrews said that while people know they need to move more, guidelines on what this entails should be more specific and should be put up in every office and encouraged by management.   "For every 30 consecutive minutes of sitting, stand up and move / walk for five minutes at a brisk pace to reduce the health risks from sitting."Study results indicate that those who frequently sat in stretches less than 30 minutes had a 55% lower risk of death compared to people who usually sat for more than 30 minutes at a stretch.People who frequently sat for more than 90 minutes at a stretch had a nearly two-fold greater risk of death than those who almost always sat for less than 90 minutes at a stretch, he said. <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> Andrews added that an added benefit of moving every 30 minutes was to encourage older workers to move."As we age we tend naturally to become more sedentary, but this increases the risk of poor health.Everyone will benefit from moving every 30 minutes. It's important people just make it a habit."

Aglet 25th Mar 2019
How to sweat office space in uncertain economic times

How to sweat office space in uncertain economic times

<strong>Richard Andrews</strong> Director at Inspiration Office (Pty) Ltd   South Africa is facing severe economic headwinds and many companies are hesitant to move into bigger spaces, even if they need them.But there are solutions, according to Richard Andrews, Managing Director of Inspiration Office, an Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy."Many offices have a low utilisation portion of their space which means they are paying for space they don't even use." <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> "Unused space is a very costly resource! But there are clever ways to make existing space work harder." <h3>1. Store documents offsite</h3> "Despite the growing popularity of cloud storage and electronic documents, many businessestie up a significant amount of space by holding on to hard copy files." Andrews noted.According to Douglas Isabelle, Managing Director of DOC-IT, a leading electronic document and business process management company, less than 5% of companies in South Africa use Electronic Document Management Systems (EDMS)."Removing hard copy from your premises allows you to free up spaces and be more environmentally conscious," Andrews commented.It can also make it easier to meet safety standards as excess clutter canimpede a speedy exit in the event of emergency.You can free up space by digitizing files or, if you are obliged to hang onto hard-copy (or simply prefer it), store it with a file storage company.The latter means extra security for your documents and is considerably cheaper than renting prime office space just for storage. <h3>2. Use smart furniture</h3> Said Andrews: "We have smart phones, smart cars, smart watches but people tend to forget how useful smart furniture is."Smart furniture is furniture that serves many purposes but looks the same as "normal" furniture. <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> Andrews points to HIVE (photo above and below), a recent introduction to South Africa, as an example of smart furniture. It is a cocoon-like desk that can be added to empty spaces and it instantly provides a well lit, ergonomically designed private place to work and also serves as a storage facility. "It creates a lounge level of comfort in the office in a small space." <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> <h3>3. The 3 month purge,every three months</h3> "Be ruthless with what you keep in your office, and that goes for everything," Andrews advised. Making your office as clutter-free as possible improves productivity and makes offices safer. "Stuff builds up quickly so we advise people to go through their workspaces every three months and throwaway things that are no longer serving a purpose." <h3></h3> <h3>4. Forget the big desk dream</h3> "Everything is getting smaller in offices, and big desks are like dinosaurs -long gone." and Andrews. Desks are smaller, more <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> efficient and can be designed to what a person needs rather than making it a statement of importance."Get a small work station, perhaps one with a couple of filing cabinets that slide underneath. Workers keep everything in their computers anyway, so why take up valuable space with a large desk?" <h3>5. Private work spaces within existing spaces</h3> Many offices make the mistake of thinking they need to add whole extra rooms to create private spaces for people to work or have any argument with the insurance company. "But adding a whole room is pricey and take upa lot of space." noted Andrews. "And then all that has been created is just one extra room, which is likely to be used by only one person at a time."It's much cheaper to use things like the SpeakEasy Phone Booths (image below), which can be added to various places around the office to let employees have a private conversation -and they have a very small (& efficient) footprint." <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> For meetings, products like Igloo (pictured below) can be added to empty spaces for instant, private meeting rooms without having to build a whole new room and add value to your landlord. <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> <h3>6. Think vertically</h3> "When people look for extra space in an office they think horizontally, but there is a huge opportunity to take advantage of the vertical space," Andrews noted."Use shelving that attaches to the studs in your walls. Adhere sturdy pockets to your walls to hold active files you access, And, a desk with shelving above it (like NXT shown below) can work well without taking up more floorspace," Andrews concluded.

Aglet 7th Dec 2017
6 office hacks to enhance productivity in the workplace

6 office hacks to enhance productivity in the workplace

<strong>Richard Andrews</strong> Director at Inspiration Office (Pty) Ltd Great offices are not merely well decorated and thoughtfully designed, but also have a profound effect on workers’ productivity and their sense of well being. Richard Andrews, Managing Director of Inspiration Office, an Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy, said: “It’s one of the main reasons why there’s a trend the world over for companies to make over their boring and old furniture by including stylish, pleasing chairs, couches and desks which is transforming utilitarian, drab spaces.” <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> Here’s how great office space can enhance productivity in the work place: <h3><strong>Boring furniture will make you lazy-and bored</strong></h3> Being surrounded with boring furniture, individuals oftentimes lose interest in work and this leads directly to a drop in productivity.“Even if we don’t think dull workplaces impact productivity, they do by creating a subconscious listlessness that is associated with dreary surroundings, “Andrews said. <h3>Vibrant colours bring enthusiasm</h3> Lots of offices are choosing furniture and fitting sin bright colours. “Bright colours assist in lifting a person's mood. It's a good way to alleviate stress, as well as increase productivity,” said Andrews. <h3>Standing desks: making you healthier</h3> Several studies have discovered a link between the amount of time an individual spends sitting and her or his odds of developing diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.For example, one 2010 Australian study, discovered that for every additional hour participants spent sitting on a daily basis, their overall threat of dying within the study period (7 years) increased by 11%. <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> Said Andrews: ”A 2012 study discovered that if the average person in America decreased her or his sitting time to 3 hours a day, life expectancy would increase by 2 years.” <h3>Keep it clean,and orderly</h3> Cleanliness and order are very important factors for an office that feels good to work in,” noted Andrews. “ A dis-organised office deprives workers of enthusiasm and sends a message that sloppiness is OK.”A clean and orderly office helps to keep workers comfortable and productive.Fixed spaces for handy items A good idea is to always keep things in their place, as well as keeping them handy.“Often workers put off their work because they need to get up and go to an additional place for finishing the task or wander around trying to find something like a stapler. Keeping items handy won't just speed work up, but it also makes you more productive,” said Andrews. <h3>Where possible,let the day light in</h3> “We all know the uncomfortable feeling of being stuck in a windowless room under fluorescent lights during daylight hours,” said Andrews. “Lack of natural light has a profoundly negative effect on people’s health and therefore productivity.” In a study titled,Impact of <em>Work place Daylight Exposure on Sleep,Physical Activity,and Quality of Life</em>, researchers at the Neuroscience program at Northwestern University in Chicago, reported that the detrimental impact of working in a windowless environment is a universal phenomenon.It concluded that there is a strong relationship between workplace daylight exposure and office workers' sleep, activity and quality of life. “Employees who did not have windows reported reduced scores than their counterparts upon life quality measures associated with vitality and physical problems. Also, they had poorer outcomes within measures of overall sleep efficiency, sleep quality, daytime dysfunction, as well as sleep disturbances,” Andrews added.

Aglet 20th Nov 2017
Work related back disorders driving absenteeism

Work related back disorders driving absenteeism

<strong>Richard Andrews</strong> Director at Inspiration Office (Pty) Ltd   Work-related back disorders are a significant and increasing problem in office workplaces the world over and a major contributor to rising absenteeism. Richard Andrews, Managing Director of Inspiration Office, an Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy said that studies suggest that between 60% and 90% of people will suffer from low back disorders at some point in their life and that at any one time between 15% and 42% of people are suffering from problem backs in the workplace. <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> “Data from a European survey on working conditions reveal that 30% of European workers suffer from back pain, which tops the list of all reported work-related disorders. “In South Africa, back pain is also the number one work related disorder.”Although in most cases, patients make a full recovery from an episode of low back pain (60-70 % recover within 6 weeks, 70-90 % within 12 weeks) this still adds up to a very large amount of lost time from work. “In addition the recurrence rate for low back disorders is very high,” Andrews noted. “In one year the recurrence rate is between 20% and 44% and over a lifetime recurrences of up to 85% are reported. It is important to remember that once injured, the back can become susceptible and re-injury is more likely if there are risk factors in the work place that are not corrected.”Although very common across all types of industries and jobs that , several studies have demonstrated that low back disorder rates are particularly prevalent in certain types of industries and within certain occupations. Particularly high prevalence rates in offices are found for example among: call centre workers, lawyers, bankers, receptionists and client facing jobs like tellers. “All these jobs require very long hours of sitting with little opportunity to move round because they are often so intense, “ said Andrews.Low back disorders include spinal disc problems such as hernias and and soft tissue injuries. In addition to the normal degenerative aging process, studies reveal that poor ergonomic <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> factors in the workplace contribute to low back disorders in a healthy back or accelerate existing changes “Poor ergonomic work factors increase the load or strain on the back. This may arise from many situations such as when chairs slant to the side or are the wrong pitch causing the back to hyper-extend or slump forward. Sustained periods of doing this cancause severe damage later on,” Andrews added. Strategies to prevent low back disorders should include both workplace based and health care based interventions. It sounds obvious but a good, ergonomically sound chair is the best place to start. Skimping on chairs may save money in the short term might seem appealing but the cost saving is dwarfed by loss of productivity in the long run.” Increasingly there is recognition that an integrated approach is effective too. And that means teaching workers the bestway to sit in chairs, managing their stress, providing access to expert medical help for those with back problems and encouraging workers to move around during the day and exercise regularly once they leave the office.

Aglet 12th Jul 2017
The office isn't dying, it's going through a renaissance!

The office isn't dying, it's going through a renaissance!

<strong>Richard Andrews</strong> Director at Inspiration Office (Pty) Ltd   It wasn't long after smart phones, tablets and ubiquitous Wi-Fi that workplace experts predicted the end of the office.And while atelecommuting trend took root for a while, it is now beginning to reverse with large American companies like IBM, Honeywelland Yahoo leading the change.But also thanks to offices that are now much more human friendly. <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> Said Richard Andrews, Managing Director of Inspiration Office, an Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy: "The thinking went along these lines: if technology allows people to work anywhere, then who needs the office?""As it turns out, the vast majority of workers do -becuase work, at its essence, is a social process.Even people armed with the latest mobile devices still come to the office to connect with other people and to access technology they can't carry around.""The office didn't go away, but it's now evolving into something fundamentally different.""We are in the midst of an office renaissance."And the proof is evident in some of the world's biggest companies.After several decades of allowing employees to perform their jobs remotely, IBM recently announced that it wanted many of its remote workers back in the office.Between 1995 and 2009, the company shrank its office workforce.Other companies soon followed suit: Work-from-home became a desirable perk of many white-collar jobs.Yahoo has also reversed its stance on home workers and said that since calling back its staff, employee engagement was up, product launches increased significantly and teams were thriving. <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> American conglomerate Honeywell also joined the back to the office trend by banning telecommuting for most of its workers worldwide.Said Andrews: "It's not surprising there is a swing back to the office.The workplace has become a catalyst for energy and buzz.""People are again looking for inspiration and creativity at work, as well as human-centered technology that makes life easier.These ideas are being embraced and adopted at a rapid pace thanks to new people friendly design and facilities."Traditionally, offices were focused on uniformity and standards.Much of the space was dedicated to individual workstations, separated into departments, where people spent the majority of their time working alone.A cafeteria provided a place to eat lunch and large meeting rooms were used mostly for collaboration.But by reducing the number of dedicated individual workstations and creating an ecosystem of spaces, people now have the freedom to choose how and where to work."Appealing offices now have a social hub, previously just a cafeteria, which shifts away from supporting just nourishment to now also becoming a place for workers to connect and collaborate," said Andrews."They also have a nomadic camp -purposely placed near the social hub -to support mobile behaviours.The additional <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> settings offer mobile workers a place to work alone or with others.Workers can see and be seen by coworkers, or choose a private setting for focused work."The concept of a 'resident neighbourhood'is also proving popular and includes spaces for managers in the open plan to promote learning and quick problem solving.Resource Centres offers workers a space to securely store coats and bags and access meeting tools."People want to feel a connection to the places where they work, where they can see themselves in the space, versus something that feels imposed upon them.Well designed offices and productivity gains from working closely with smart people is driving the office renaissance," Andrews concluded.

Aglet 10th Jun 2017
Offices would be better places to work if they were more like cars

Offices would be better places to work if they were more like cars

<strong>Richard Andrews</strong> Director at Inspiration Office (Pty) Ltd   Offices would be much better places to work if they were more like cars says the Managing Director of a leading office consultancy."New car models are often embedded with technologies that make driving easier, safer and more fun.""Sensors tell drivers if there is a truck in their blind spot or if they are about to back into another car parking.Some cars allow drivers to safely take their hands off the wheel.Increasingly, more will be Wi-Fi enabled.The car doesn't just provide transportation anymore -it actually helps people be better drivers," said Richard Andrews, Managing <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> Director of Inspiration Office, an Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy."So why can't we embed technology in the office to help people feel, work and think better?""A lot more people will drive a smart car to go to work in a dumb office.But this simply has to change and it will change."People used to think that technology would make offices obsolete -but the opposite is happening.Technology will be embedded in offices so it actually helps people work better and makes the workplace even more relevant."It will help people cope with the sense of overwhelm they often feel as work has intensified and the pace of change has accelerated.It will also help organisations design the kinds of spaces that workers love to work in versus have to work in.Technology will be embedded in offices so it actually helps people work better and makes the workplace even more relevant."Work is fundamentally more complex than ever before.Workers who used to be assigned to a singleproject team now find themselves juggling multiple teams and tasks, constantly switching from one set of tasks to another, transitioning from one work mode to the next and orchestrating their way through a maze of meetings.The constant focus-shifting wastes time and drains energy.   When it comes to technology workers are already familiar with such mobile phones, laptops and Wi-Fi, this has had the impact of freeing employees who used to be tethered to their desks.   It's liberating -people have more choices about where and how to work."But it has also caused information overload as data has multiplied exponentially.Additionally,increasing globalisation brings new ideas and team members from all over the world.   For example, video-conferencing makes collaboration across time zones easier.But it also means that you can't just book one conference room for a meeting -now you need to book multiple spaces for your global team's video call.So collaboration improved, but meeting scheduling got more complicated.Think about a conference room that can alert you before the meeting ends, to make sure you wrap up what you need to accomplish before the next group stands impatiently outside the door, waiting for you to get moving."What if it could also recognise you and bring up notes from your last team meeting and adjust the lighting levels you prefer?   And what if offices had a data stream that knew which rooms are always busy and which rooms no one seems to like?With this information, organisations can better understand what's working and what isn't. <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> Just as technology in today's cars is improving the driving experience, tomorrow's office will harness the power of emerging technologies.   It will allow people to more easily navigate the complexity of work as well as help organisations create better work experiences for individuals and teams" Andrews concluded.

Aglet 9th May 2017
Small office changes to boost workplace productivity every day

Small office changes to boost workplace productivity every day

<strong>Richard Andrews</strong> Director at Inspiration Office (Pty) Ltd   Post holiday gloom, the 3pm slump, stiffness from sitting down all day, annoying colleagues... whatever the cause, everybody experiences a lag in productivity in the workplace from time to time.But Richard Andrews, Managing Director of Inspiration Office,an Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy, says the responsibility of managing staff health and well being falls on both employer and employees. <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> "Often neither party knows how to get the most out of a working day.""So we've put together this handy guide to help boost happiness, health and productivity, and achieve more each day:" <h3>Step away from the desk</h3> No matter how fit you are, sitting for more than an hour at a time raises your risk of heart failure, diabetes and obesity."We recommend taking at least a two-minute break from the desk every half-hour to stretch the legs, hydrate, get some natural light, and clear your thoughts," says AndrewsBeing active can improve output and work satisfaction by 80% according to the UK's Business in the Community.TestalternativemeetingstylesMeetings that lack focus are a drain on productivity, time and motivation.Said Andrews: "Conducting a meeting while walking, standing or even exercising encourages employees to step away from their desks, inspires ideas and introduces exercise into a typically sedentary day.Methods such as this let you exercise, brainstorm, refresh and build ralationships while being part of a meeting." <h3>Fuel body and mind</h3> The food that you eat has a real impact on your energy levels. Sugary snacks and caffeinated drinks give you a spike in energy, but this is often followed by a crach where you feel more tired than before.Berries, vegetables, nuts, wholegrain cereals, yoghurt and biltong are better than junky snacks.If you feel the need for something sweeter, a few squares of dark chocolate is a good compromise. <h3>Choose perks wisely</h3> An office games console and on-site bar may win you likes on Instagram, but it's important to consider about whether your work-space will benefit your staff in the long term."Rather than always spending funds on boozy nights out, introduce fresh fruit, flexible working, gym memberships or healthy away days,: Andrews advised.An interesting UK survey by Labour Force shows that 30.4 million working days were lost in Britain in 2015-2016 through sickness.Stress, depression and anxiety caused 11.7 million days to be lost, while musculoskeletal problems accounted for 8.8 million sick days.With such losses at stake, looking after staff health has to be a priority.Being effecient at work helps staff to reach their targets and keeps clients happy."However, efficiency levels can fall when staff are stressed, constantly reaching to meet high expectations, lacking in <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> confidence or under the weather.Maintaining a friendly atmosphere, having clearly defined roles, and setting realistic goals are essential for an efficient workspace," Andrews said.

Aglet 18th Apr 2017
Hot desking is on the wane, say hello to flexible working

Hot desking is on the wane, say hello to flexible working

<strong>Richard Andrews</strong> Director at Inspiration Office (Pty) Ltd   Savvy businesses are rapidly moving beyond shared desks to flexible work spaces, which is having a profound effect on job satisfaction and staff turn over Richard Andrews, Managing Director of Inspiration Office, an Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy said: "The hot desk concept is on the wane.""Many more people have higher expectations for their working lives and now want to be able to work in a more flexible way. <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> Offices are adapting to meet that need. A bonus and a pat on the back is no longer enough to retain staff.”Recent research by a UK social research charity The Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that almost half the UK workforce would like the opportunity to work in a more flexible way. Job search firm CareerBuilder's research revealed that 56% of employees who describe themselves as satisfied in their jobs cited work/life balance as a key factor.Only 39% cited salary as the root of their job satisfaction.Said Andrews: “Rather than setting up rows of traditional desks, each with their own power point and telephone, firms should consider shared spaces with work benches and social hubs where staff can work in a group or on their own in a more informal setting.”Companies are seeing rewards from a more flexible approach. US retailer Best Buy adopted flexibility at its headquarters, resulting in a reduction in staff turnover of 45%.“As technology develops to enable access to corporate systems, services and applications from any location at any time, employees are increasingly questioning the need to sit at a particular desk in a specific office at set times each day,“ Andrews noted.The future of flexible working can be divided into three areas –space, location and time.   <h3>Flexible space</h3> Flexible work spaces have the advantage that they don’t “belong” to any individual or team, meaning staff are less likely to get territorial over a particular place. They are also a great use of space for businesses looking to get the most value out of building costs, as they can be used in different ways -from a short meeting to an employee needing to focus on a particular project away from their team.A clear-desk policy is a must when considering any of the above, ensuring that staff don’t reserve a certain seat or desk even when they’re away from an office. <h3>Flexible location</h3> Remote working is being embraced by many businesses to allow staff to work while travelling or offsite. Whether it’s letting staff head home after an external meeting to carry on working, or a more formal arrangement enabling workers to be at home for certain days per week, employees are increasingly demanding these opportunities. Enterprises that fail to offer flexible working policies and options will soon find they are unable to compete with larger companies when it comes to recruiting and retaining talent. <h3>Flexi time</h3> The most radical of the three options, but it’s one already widely practised by micro businesses, startups and entrepreneurs. However, we have yet to see a real shift to flexible hours among larger enterprises. <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> “Most companies expect their staff to work set days and hours, even if they happen to be working at home or from a hot desk. As offices decrease in both size and number of people on the premises at any time, as more of us choose to work remotely, so the need for staff to all be working the same days and times decreases,” said Andrews.   The most forward-thinking firms will start considering roles and functions in their organisation by employees working their own chosen hours -whether that’s compressed hours, weekend or night-time working -rather than those dictated by the business.   It might be that only one or two of these three options are feasible for your organisation at present, but for all firms it is worth assessing pilot programmes to try out the trio of different approaches.

Aglet 8th Mar 2017
10 tips for a healthier & happier workplace

10 tips for a healthier & happier workplace

<strong>Richard Andrews</strong> Director at Inspiration Office (Pty) Ltd   The new working year is now in full swing and some people will be back at work in less than ideal offices.But help is at hand.Richard Andrews, Managing Director of Inspiration Office, an Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy, said "Making even small tweaks can make the workplace a more comfortable and pleasant experience in 2017 and beyond."These are his top 10 suggestions for reducing the risk of injury and improving workplace well being: <div class="canvasWrapper"></div> <h3>1. Bin the ball</h3> It has become quite trendy to sit onan exercise ball while at your desk.The truth is they are uncomfortable and impractical.The best bet is a comfortable, ergonomic chair. <h3> 2. Get the screen right</h3> To reduce eye and neck strain, raise your screen so that your eyes are looking directly at it when you are sitting normally.Most people tend to look down at their screens placing particular strain on the neck.If budget allows, a computer monitor arm will help workers easily set the screen at an optimal height. <h3>3. Remember a wrist rest for keyboards</h3> Writing on a keyboard for long periods can place unnatural strain on the wrists.Adding a wrist rest is a quick and cost effective and ergonomically sound solution. <h3>4. Light up, light down</h3> An adjustable work lamp on the desk is a boon for workers so they can control their immediate lighting.This can help with controlling glare on computer screens and illuminating work when necessary. <h3>5. Sit and stand</h3> Vary your posture between sitting and standing.Many offices now offer place where you can stand and work.Standing meetings are another option.It tends to keep them short. <h3>6. Move-but treadmills are for gyms</h3> To stay active, it's best to take short walks throughout the day.Lunch breaks are good times.It helps with clearing the mind and reduces body stiffness from sitting too long in one position. <h3>7. Rest your eyes at regular intervals</h3> To reduce eyestrain from staring at a computer monitor for long spells, add rest breaks to refocus and rest your eyes.It often helps to look at the far distance during these breaks. <h3>8. Expose yourself to sunlight</h3> Long hours under artificial light can sour the mood of even the sunniest characters.It's a good idea to work in a sunny spot or at least walk through a sunny area a few times a day. <h3>9. Surround yourself with plants</h3> Place plants in your workplace or visit greenery during the work day.Plants are proven to reduce stress and increase productivity. <h3>10. View the outdoors if you can</h3> Not an option for everyone but if you can look at a natural setting while working at your desk, it improves memory and focus.If it's not possible, even looking at images of nature throughout the day will help create a sense of well being.

Aglet 18th Jan 2017