Written by Paul Zollinger-Read, former Bupa Chief Medical Officer
Employee health and wellbeing is increasingly informing the way businesses are structuring and designing their office spaces. A report recently commissioned by Staples found 81% of employees felt their workspace had an impact on their mental health, 68% would feel more valued at work if their organisation invested in their workspaces, and 46% believe they’d be happier in another job altogether. As individual happiness is linked to productivity, satisfaction, and fulfilment – why wouldn’t we invest in our spaces?
When we designed our office at Angel Court in the City of London, health and wellbeing was at the heart of our thinking. We wanted to provide our people with an environment that supports their physical and mental health at work.
In early 2018, Bupa was officially certified as a healthy workplace by Fitwel, the world’s leading award for using building design to support the health, wellbeing and productivity of the people working inside it. And this year kicked off to a healthy start too; we were recognised by the Center for Active Design, an organisation that promotes architecture and urban planning solutions to improve public health, for the “Best in Building Health”. We were particularly commended for our interior design.
The interior space at Angel Court underpins our aim of creating a truly healthy workplace. By having 100% sit-stand workstations, we aim to prevent people from sitting down for long hours on end, leading to aches and pains and potential long-term damage to posture. Breaking up the day with periods of standing up is a great way to boost productivity levels and wellbeing too. It’s great to hear feedback from our people about the building’s features, Anthony Jaggs, who stands regularly at his desk throughout the day, said: “The new sit-stand desks are ideal for giving us the flexibility to choose how we work. Being able to stand up at regular intervals feels refreshing.”
We have been at Angel Court for a year now, so to hear the “facilities are first class” from Lyndsay Gray, really makes the thought and effort behind creating these spaces worthwhile. Lyndsay continued: “I love the different work settings and quiet corners you can take yourself off into, to concentrate – on the other hand it’s sociable in the neighbourhood areas. We are really lucky to work in such a light, well-laid out modern working space.”
By creating open, light and bright spaces, it encourages people to work in different spaces, breaking up the day. This point was emphasised by several colleagues including, Milly Pearson, who said: “Having the ability to work in different areas of the office, including sitting outside in the warmer months, improves my wellbeing and productivity levels. I really notice a difference at the end of the day if I’ve moved around our offices.”
Health and wellbeing was also at the heart of our thinking when designing our new Bupa location: Bupa Place, in Salford Quays, Manchester, which was named the ‘Happiest Workplace’ at the National Happiness Awards at the end of 2018. Designed with input from employees at every stage, Bupa Place was recognised as a workplace focused on ensuring every person loves working there.
We know it makes sense to have a workspace that supports our peoples’ physical and mental health, as well as reducing our impact on the environment. So, as we move forward, we are committed to continuing to review and improve our workspaces, creating a sustainable environment and promote the health and wellbeing of our people.