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Editor of Premises & Facilities Management, Dennis Flower looks at how design can affect wellbeing

There has been a notable increase in the focus on ensuring that workers receive the correct levels of support to allow them to operate at their most efficient, leading to the creation of a growing number of workplaces that have been designed accordingly.

This is particularly noticeable when companies relocate to new premises as this is frequently the time when the necessary budgets are made available, resulting in work areas designed to provide all the benefits that can be seen through an increased focus on wellbeing.

These designs will typically provide bright and attractive workplaces, including access to high levels of natural light, with particular attention paid to air quality, usually involving the on-site HVAC system, and therefore providing contractors with the opportunity to assist their clients with helpful expert advice on a number of levels.

These things are easily avoidable by following the original design

Dennis Flower PfM Dennis Flower Editor of Premises & Facilities Management

Design for purpose

We’ve all seen projects where the HVAC system is designed to perform to a much higher level than will ever be required on a ‘just in case’ basis, so increased input into the design could allow contractors to really impress clients.

An example of this could be that the specifying of a smaller system than would otherwise be used may provide the client with a cost saving and this could then be spent on increased air filtration or more sophisticated control systems.

This would then effectively deliver increased functionality and improve the wellbeing aspect of the design without incurring excessive additional expense.

Further to this, placing the emphasis on workplace wellbeing can be a very effective argument in favour of avoiding what can be seen as the automatic practice of ‘value engineering’.

The removal or downgrading of quality of components can be explained as having the potential to have an adverse effect on workplace comfort levels and therefore creating a number of risks, including a failure of its main intention, that are easily avoidable by following the original design.

Constructive conversations

With an increasing number of businesses expressing concerns about the need to retain skilled workers, the wellbeing in the workplace topic is set to continue to expand into a number of sectors.

More recently, this has seen more attention placed on agile working, particularly for offices, to allow workers to choose the best option to complete their individual tasks, with the intention of delivering higher levels of work satisfaction for all.

Those involved in the design, supply, installation and maintenance of HVAC solutions are therefore more likely to be able to use these trends to generate constructive conversations that will have the best outcomes for all those involved.

Dennis Flower is editor of Premises & Facilities Management