Coworking London Conference: Workplace Wellbeing

We covered Workplace Wellbeing and its effect on the workforce in session 5 of the Coworking London Conference.

The opening keynote came from Bertie Van Wyk, Workplace Specialist for Herman Miller.  Workplace stress costs an estimated $200 billion in USA in loss of productivity and absenteeism which can be addressed by social ergonomics that have a physical, cognitive and social impact.  Bertie’s emphasis was on a workplace that helps us initiate and regulate social interaction, considering factors like personal space, physical and psychological proximity, and territoriality.  It is these workplaces that helps us feel better and when we feel better, we work better.

Neil Usher, Chief Workplace Officer for GoSpace discussed his ‘elemental’ approach’ to wellbeing.  His takeaway point was that the workplace needs to achieve a practical balance between human needs and capabilities and smart technology to be truly effective.  His approach (outlined in his book The Elemental Workplace) looks at 12 key elements that make up the periodic table (be nice to have this picture in the blog) of our workplace design.

The discussion moved towards a bio-digital approach to our environment with Marco Poletto from Ecologic.  He explains that  “50% of the worlds CO2 is absorbed by the oceans microalgae” Ecologic work to harness the powers of micro-algae into Bio-Design solutions installed within buildings to deal with air pollution.  “Proximity to natural elements within our environment (in this case their algae-tech installations) has shown a 15% improvement in wellbeing and creativity.

The true effects of design and our environment are “really hard to quantify” Aneeqa Khan from eporta echoes our sentiments on what is a growing concern for the future work-force.

There are a multitude of different approaches to battle the main concerns over space and layout, design of private and communal space, and our comforts over air quality, noise, and temperature.

Photo credits: eOffice, Coworking London