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Why invest in a comfortable healthy office environment?

The correct amount of natural light in a workspace can improve productivity and reduce eye strain | multi comfort

A few afternoons ago it was coming toward the end of a busy day and I was on my way for a comfort break, I walked through our upper foyer when I was struck by the beautiful sunset and the way it lit up the area with an orange glow.

I only had a cheaper phone to hand, so the photo quality isn't that great, but it got me thinking about where I work, and how well it suits my needs.

Sunset through the windows of Saint-Gobain's UK head office in Binley

We have a lovely curved office, which is open plan (without being overwhelming), we have smaller private offices for use when needed, a fantastic executive boardroom and meeting rooms, a fully catered canteen with great prices, two small working pods for collaboration with colleagues, and excellent welcoming areas when you first come in as pictured above. I could go on, but it's the best office environment I've ever worked in and it made me realise for the first time how much I actually value that.

The way I see it is that you spend (in general) the same amount of time, if not more, at work with your colleagues and at your desk/workstation as you do waking hours in your own home. Home is a place where you spend hours tidying, cleaning, rearranging, decorating and generally making yourself feel comfortable, so surely you must need to feel this comfortable at work too?

Maslow

Maslow's hierarchy of needs comes to mind when putting it like this - his theory suggests that needs start as physiological - apart from food and drink, this includes comfort in your surroundings/shelter. Therefore, before we even worry about what money we earn in the office today, how valued we are and how successful our careers are, Maslow suggests we have made sure our basic needs such as comfort are met. So if you are in a dark room, lit only with artificial lights, uncomfortable seating, no room to break out etc. are you really going to be happy at work and achieve the most you can? I think not!

I'm lucky in that Saint-Gobain focuses within our brand values on comfort; being comfortable in any of your living spaces is vital, and my workplace reflects that. If your business is uncomfortable and you (as an employer) don't think about the wellbeing of your workers then I sincerely hope that you can take on board the message I am trying to deliver in this article.

I'll finish by showing you an example of how much health and wellbeing means to people - a recent post I shared, simply showing people that my office gives us fruit, has so far generated 137 likes and 5 comments. In comparison to the majority of the posts I share that have just a 2 or 3 likes with no comments - this one clearly means something to a lot of people!

Ieuan Male-Maltby shared a post from his LinkedIn account

Recognising the difference that a building makes to the places we live and work, Saint-Gobain has developed Multi Comfort. This building standard considers how factors like our acoustic, visual and thermal comfort, as well as the indoor air we breathe, work together and create spaces that are better for our health and wellbeing.

Multi Comfort includes standards for non-residential spaces such as offers, giving guidance on aspect like temperature, noise and acoustics, plus levels of daylight. As my article explores, the environment in which we work has a huge impact on our physiology and how we feel, but also make a difference as to how we respond and feel valued as employees.

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Disclaimer: The sole responsibility for any views expressed lies with the author(s). Any opinions shared do not necessarily represent the views of Saint-Gobain.

Ieuan Male-Maltby
Ieuan Male-Maltby Recruitment Manager
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