The quest for a work-life balance in the UK is elusive. It has been reported that research conducted by Microsoft discovered only 17% of British workers are encouraged to cultivate a work-life balance despite flexible working hours and cloud technologies.
If anything, employees are putting in more work hours when they work away from the office.
A work-life balance is important. Taking time out reduces stress levels, prevents burnout, increases happiness and ultimately improves performance and productivity.
Numerous employers in the UK have put in a significant amount of effort to improve the work-life balance and appeal to the millennial mindset. However, it is also a fact that cultivating a work-life balance is enhanced by surroundings that encourage employees to disconnect.
Creating a workplace environment that encourages employees to find an equilibrium between work and rest, helps people change their habits.
Subsequently, we are starting to see a new revolution of office designs that facilitate a work-life balance, namely the so-called agile office that enables employees to recognise the benefits of moving around rather than confining themselves to a dedicated workplace.
As the office design revolution gathers pace, new ways of incorporating a work-life balance into the workplace are being realised.
Whilst CEO’s and other successful people brag about surviving on three or four hours sleep, the World Health Organisation is concerned the sleep-loss epidemic is linked with a growing number of fatal illnesses.
It’s been widely reported that two-thirds of adults around the globe suffer from sleep deprivation. The National Sleep Foundation estimates the average adult in the UK gets just six hours and 49 minutes of rest during the night.
As a result, recharge rooms have become a design concept in modern tech offices. These gadget-free areas allow employees to take a digital detox, stretch, relax, meditate or even take a power-nap in a high-tech sleep pod ala Google.
Health and Wellbeing Facilities
Closely related to a work-life balance is the recognition for employers to look after the health and wellbeing of employees. Smartly designed offices that encourage healthy living help to improve employee retention, lower absenteeism, boost productivity, increase job satisfaction, and enhance creativity.
Breakout areas are designed to help employees relax and tune out from work. Office canteens that resemble cafes or restaurants mentally remove employees from the office, entertainment areas such as a games room helps the mind to refresh and refocus and on-site gyms or spas enable people to regenerate and save a lot of time.
Homely Feeling in the Office
Workplace designs that put employees at the centre are a growing trend and employers are finding that creating areas of the office that offer home comforts enable employees to take time out and relax.
Offices with fully-equipped kitchens and comfortable seating areas create a home-from-home mentally and encourage staff to have a well-deserved break.
The alternative is to install ‘disappearing desks’ like Heldergroen design studio in Amsterdam. At 6 pm the desk is hauled up to the ceiling.