Healthy buildings expert calls for revamp of offices post-pandemic

A healthy buildings expert is calling for hammocks and standing desks to tempt workers back into the office.

A healthy buildings expert is calling for hammocks and standing desks to tempt workers back into the office. - Credit: Press Association Images

A construction expert from Colchester is calling for firms to install hammocks and standing desks to entice staff back into the office as lockdown is eased.

According to a recent YouGov survey, almost one in five workers want to work from home permanently after the pandemic, while a further two fifths wish to work remotely some of the time.

But Rob Diamond, a sustainability expert at Ingleton Wood, a property and construction consultancy in Colchester, says businesses should invest in creating healthy offices to tempt back staff who are working from home.

Rob Diamond, a sustainability expert at Ingleton Wood,  is calling on local businesses to adopt the new ‘building...

Rob Diamond, a sustainability expert at Ingleton Wood, is calling on local businesses to adopt the new ‘building wellness’ measures to improve the health, wellbeing and productivity of staff before lockdown ends. - Credit: Ingleton Wood

“Mental health and wellbeing should be top priorities for businesses now following the remote working revolution," he said.

"We’re enjoying more family time, more exercise and no commute. Any business that fails to act on this huge cultural shift risks getting left behind.

“That’s why we’re calling for all local businesses to seriously consider investing in building wellness. 

“You could have a water fountain every 30 metres or a cafeteria full of fruit and veg rather than processed food and sugary drinks.

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"You might have a counsellor to hand for mental health support, or a circadian lighting system, or sleep pods with hammocks, more plants and daylight, dedicated fitness time, local gym memberships and activity trackers, lower carbon dioxide levels, stand-up desks which burn 50 more calories per hour than sitting.

“It’s all scientifically backed up and will result in happier and more productive teams to help businesses stay resilient and competitive whilst reviving our local economy in Colchester."

Mr Diamond recently became one of the first people in the UK to achieve the new WELL Accredited Professional credential for human health and wellness in buildings. 

He is one of only 7,000 WELL accredited practitioners worldwide. 

“Forward-thinking employers will see the benefits,” he said. “Google, Apple and other big blue chip firms aren’t doing this just to look good.

"They’ve discovered that it genuinely changes the minds of their staff. It influences people in a positive manner. They are creating healthier, more natural and more enjoyable workplaces.

“A modern workplace should not be a place where you sit down all day and just do your work. It should be a place of creativity and collaboration, bouncing ideas off each other, finding that Eureka moment."