Workplace stress has reached epidemic proportions and is thought by many to be the main cause of office productivity loss.  The good news: this article claims that there is a growing body of evidence that good workplace design can have a positive impact on this situation.  The British government is enough of a believer that they have begun rewarding businesses that adopt “healthy architecture” and create offices that promote both physical and mental wellbeing.

This article notes that complete office redesigns aren’t always necessary.  Some simple steps that are encouraged include providing ergonomic furniture, installing individual climate controls and creating a stress-free space where employees can escape the immediate scene of stress for even five minutes.

Lifestyle offices are also discussed, ranging from club-type bars on premises to a basketball net where employees can leap up and down to combat stress.  “Hub” environments are also encouraged – departure lounge-type areas with juice bars and/or gallery spaces where staff can relax or meet clients.

The article ends with the author bemoaning the continuing rise of stress levels.  He talks about the new 24 hour economy leading to the overlap of work space and social space and remarks that even sleep areas are being introduced into some offices.

Source: David Spittles, Evening Standard (London); Dec 13, 2004

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