Office, a healthy working environment

From history we have a special affinity with designing working environments. After we started to specialise ourselves in health environments, we started to wonder more and more what the situation was with the health at offices.

From researches it appears that we spend an average 90% of our time inside. 40% of this time we spend at our workplace. That is almost half. Link this to recent research data from which it appears that 1 in 2 Dutch people are overweight, only 25% achieve the guidelines of healthy food and we excessively have not enough exercise and it is not difficult to notice that the design of working environments is almost a social issue.

We exploited our knowledge and expertise in the case and have linked this the working environment. Because apart from the fact that we contribute to a solution in a social issue with a health workplace, we also contribute in a different way. Healthy employees have a lower sickness absence, higher productivity, and higher welfare and higher employee’s satisfaction. And that is interesting for any employer.

Plus, let us not forget that with the coming aging we lose a substantial part of our professional population in a few years. Whereby the recruitment and preservation of talent becomes for companies the biggest challenge for the future.

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Past the new way of working

A workplace is initially a place where you can perform your work activities in a correct way. Over the years this workplace has changed significantly. Main reasons for this are the changed work activities and type of work, business organisation, digitization and globalization which made us less dependent on a permanent workplace at an office.

In the nineties researches were started into the ‘new way of working’. Meanwhile a container meaning with not always a positive feeling. Employees who cannot find a place, which means walking around with gear, no longer be able to personalise a place and the misfit of this flexibility with a position, are examples of this. But originally creates to fulfil the question to handle a workplace more flexible.

At this moment many companies have given their own interpretation to the new way of working. This mainly concerns the flexible use of workplaces (less workplaces than employees), diversity in workplaces (different work activities require different places) and integration of facilities (for example child care, sports facilities or relaxation possibilities). The logical result of all this is that this should require less m2 in theory.

In practice we notice that the term the new way of working can be a good principle, but that is requires customisation to implement this correctly within an organisation. This needs a sharp business vision but in addition also a good partner who can translate the vision spatially.

A lawyer office namely has a total different type of work activities and type of positions than a consultancy firm, or a telemarketing company. Whereby a diversity of opinions, visions and differentiations can also be found within a sector.  To use the new way of working as a blueprint seems therefore far from fair.

In this perspective we have the knowledge of what the new way of working means in particular we can read organisation and translate this into spatial models. We understand that the receptionist is not walking around all day looking for a place as she just requires a permanent workplace. We also know that a sales representative fly in and out more easier and also land at the coffee table for an hour or so.

We call this thinking ‘past the new way of working’. Not least because we believe that there is a lot more than only workplace concepts and we make the link to health working. For us this is the link of all knowledge and experience that is available to the various themes that play a part in the issue around the workplace and the spatial translation this can provide.

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Anja Dirks

+31(0)30 - 782 05 50
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