The physical and mental health of your employees could depend on them having control over their workspace, new research suggests.

The report, ‘What Workers Want’, by Savills and the British Council for Offices (BCO) once again illustrates how office design can impact people’s wellbeing.

We spoke previously about the benefits of adopting a collaborative approach to office design, with staff responding positively to being given a say in the make-up of their work environment.

This new report, which polled 1,132 office workers across the UK asking employees what factors they look for in a workplace, shows some clear correlation between employees’ physical and mental health and their control over their environment.

Just 30% of those who report ‘no control at all’ over their office environment said their workplace had a positive impact on their mental and physical health, compared to 80% of respondents who are given ‘full control’ of the office environment.

It’s not only the design of the office which has a bearing on how satisfied staff are – the conditions within the space also have an impact on a person’s wellbeing, indicates the report.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of those who said they were ‘very satisfied’ with the temperature of their office also said that the office had a positive impact on their mental health, with only 9% reporting a negative impact. In comparison, of those who said they were ‘not at all satisfied’ with the office temperature, 56% said the office had a negative impact on their mental health, with 24% reporting a positive impact.

Steve Lang, director, Savills research and author of the report, explained that the impact of lighting on mental health has long been known, but there has been little research into the role temperature plays in mental health.

Following this report, employers will have to give more thought to temperature when designing the office, he claims – noting that advances in technology has brought about “more nuanced monitoring of heat levels”, while climate control office chairs and integrated fans should also be considered.

In the main, businesses appear to be getting it right on office design, with two-thirds of employees of the opinion the office has a neutral or positive impact on their mental and physical health, commented Jeremy Bates, head of Savills Worldwide Occupier Services.

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