Office Partitioning and Employee Health
It may surprise some to hear that an average work desk can be around 400 times dirtier than a toilet seat. Work environments can, in fact, be a breeding ground for bacteria due to the volume of staff, the proximity between them and the amount of contact. This is only made worse in an open-plan environment, with few, if any, private areas. So, as businesses across the globe implement remote working measures to slow the spread of Coronavirus and ‘flatten the curve’, we take a look at the possible health benefits of installing partitions within an office environment.
According to a study conducted at the University of Oregon, an individual’s exposure to natural light is directly correlated to the amount of annual sick leave they take, finding that, on average, those with access to natural light exposure take 6.6% less sick leave than others.
Our question is, why?
The connection between Vitamin D and natural light is well known, and there are many benefits to an individual’s health and wellbeing, both mental and physical. For example, Vitamin D can help reduce diabetes, chronic pain, and depression, whilst natural daylight can also help deter seasonal affective disorder (SAD) throughout the darker months.
Similarly, access to natural light reduces the need for artificial fluorescent lighting that can have a variety of negative effects on an individual’s health, including an elevated stress response, migraines and eye strains.
Despite this, Staples, the office retail store, found that only 60% of office workers have access to daylight, despite 80% favouring a natural light source within their work environment.
Therefore, at Sussex and Surrey Partitioning, we would recommend installing our glass partitions for a brighter and more productive workspace. With an easy installation process, glass partitioning can create separate private areas without blocking light and create an optical illusion that makes your workplace appear bigger than it is. Not only will this help maintain the wellbeing of your employees, The World Green Building Council also found that workers feel more engaged in such an environment, resulting in boosted productivity across your workforce.
Around 80% of common illnesses are spread through touching, so when we consider the number of equipment in an office that is used by multiple people, the lack of hygiene becomes clear. Telephones, keyboard, a computer mouse and printers, are among the few that carry the most germs, so it is no surprise that 10-12% of illness related absenteeism across the EU is a result of contagious viruses.
Therefore, if your business operates within an open plan environment, it can be beneficial to erect partitions to help slow the spread of germs.
It is widely recognised that excessive noise can damage hearing, but what is less known is the two types of noise. The first is excessive and ongoing louder noises such as those at an airport of planes taking off etc. The second, and more common, is quiet and consistent noise such as general distractions like conversation. However, both can be damaging to productivity and wellbeing.
Unsurprisingly, studies have found that those who work in a noisy environment have a higher level of stress hormones, whilst Epidemiologists have discovered a direct correlation between chronic noises and high blood pressure. In time, this can lead to more serious issues such as damage to our kidneys and even our brains.
Silence, on the other hand, has long been considered an important part of health care (heavily encouraged by Florence Nightingale), and studies have found that it can even help improve cognitive function, as silence can stimulate the brain to produce new cells.
At Sussex and Surrey Partitioning, all our partitions offer noise reducing capabilities, which can quieten even the loudest of offices.