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8 steps to a healthier office and happier staff

Natalie Moore | 15th May 2019 | Blog
Autolus - White City Place, London - February 2019. Fit-out by Mansfield Monk.

As workspace designers and architects our role is no longer to just produce a more productive work environment for our clients but to identify ways to improve the well being of all employees whilst considering the further impact on the environment.

We talked to Mathew Cutts at the award-winning healthcare communications agency Cuttsy + Cuttsy to find out, from a people perspective, what aspects of a workspace are most important to employees: ‘The workplace is evolving very quickly and attracting and retaining great people is no longer just about salary and a bonus. Workspaces need to be flexible much like working patterns; space that can one moment be used for an all company meeting or a yoga session and then converted into a communal area for everyone to sit around and eat, this helps build a community. In a nutshell your work environment needs to be as flexible as your workforce so you can provide the best environment to enable them to do their best work, when and where is suits them.’

We recently completed an office and laboratory move for Autolus, a biopharmaceutical company developing next-generation, programmed T cell therapies for the treatment of cancer. Seeking a new head office and research laboratory we assisted by finding them the best building for their brief and working with them to develop a design that would attract and retain the highly skilled workforce necessary to drive their company forward. The cornerstones to this design were creating a healthier and greener office space to boost performance through staff happiness and well being. Here’s how we did it:

Underfloor air conditioning at Autolus

1. INDOOR AIR QUALITY
Those who work in a well ventilated office with low levels of VOCs have significantly higher cognitive scores and are less likely to suffer from respiratory issues, with lower levels of absenteeism. The Mediaworks building at White City that we found for Autolus has a BREEAM Excellent rating and provides them with an underfloor air displacement system with a high ventilation rate.
Short term sick leave can be 35% lower in well ventilated offices

Thermal comfort can boost productivity

2. THERMAL COMFORT
Although highly personal, thermal comfort can be achieved by ensuring the building stays within a comfortable temperature range. This boosts mood, performance and productivity. The underfloor air conditioning system at Autolus provides a stable temperature and is adapted in different areas for different tasks.
10% reduction in performance if an office is too hot or cold

Acoustic wall and ceiling solutions were used to dampen noise

3. ACOUSTICS
Open plan offices can encourage collaboration and communication but can result in problems with disruptive noise. Here we designed quiet spaces to work and maintained comfortable sound levels using wall and ceiling acoustic solutions to minimise disturbance and maximise concentration.
66% reduction in staff performance due to distracting noise

The atrium at Autolus fills the offices with natural light

4. RIGHT TO LIGHT
With full height windows as well as a 29 metre high atria the office space that we found for Autolus is filled with natural light and is complimented by LED and self-controlled task lighting. Exposure to natural light is directly linked to a reduction of stress levels and greater workplace performance.
Workplaces with good daylight have up to 40% higher productivity

Planting within Autolus

5. BIOPHILIA AND VIEWS
Biophilic experiences reduce stress, improve cognitive function and enhance mood and creativity. At Autolus we have used planting throughout the scheme to bring the outside in whilst the building that we found for them is surrounded by green space and views of nature.
Wellbeing in an office with biophilic design goes up by 13%

Reception look and feel

6. LOOK AND FEEL
Incorporating design and artwork to a space can create a calming environment which improves employee’s mood and morale. Our design for Autolus included using pacific colours which reflected the company branding alongside tactile textures, patterns and imagery to create a cerebral and microbiological workplace that appeals to the young, graduate workforce.
Good office design can make staff up to 33% happier

Phone booths for flexible working

7. FLEXIBLE WORKING AND ACTIVE DESIGN
We designed a diverse array of workspaces including informal meeting areas, quiet zones and phone booths to promote flexible working and encourage movement between spaces. Adjustable workstations were used throughout to help employees maintain better health.
Standing for 3 hours a day has the health benefits of running 10 marathons a year

8. LOCATION AND AMENITIES
Located in White City Place, the building that we found for Autolus means that they are able to benefit from excellent transport links as well as bike spaces and showers. Access to amenities such as healthy food and drink choices, gyms, outdoor green spaces, shopping and even a rooftop members club are all available within the complex, boosting employee satisfaction.
Amenities available to office workers rank fourth on the list of location decision making priorities for office occupants

Want to know more? The full Autolus project can be seen here.

Are you thinking about looking into a different way of working in a new building? Or a cleverer way of using an existing space? Whether you have new priorities for your people and performance, or a new address for your whole team,
you can give us a call on 01277 351981, we’d love to hear from you!