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Building Services & Maintenance


notes that all this is about minimising the ways design can take away comfort. “I can’t give you wellbeing, but what I can do is take your wellbeing away through bad design. You can probably stand it, up to a point, but your resilience will run out and you go into discomfort, and then your performance will drop.” Grigoriou says there are three elements relating to wellbeing, which are linked and inter-dependent: n Emotional – happy, worry, fear, depression


n Cognitive – ability to think, to process, to complete tasks


n Physical – hot, cold, noisy, eerily silent, too light, too dark.


Looking at the balance of these elements can mean there are quick wins to be had in physical wellbeing. Spaces must not be too light or too dark or too hot or too cold or cause eyestrain or backache or neck ache. These are measurable and can be calculated and controlled to get right. But it also means buildings will need to allow individuals or groups to open or close windows, or turn up or down the heat and noise if they prefer. Workplace Unlimited boss Nigel Oseland says: “We don’t like dead quiet because we think it is the quiet just before a storm. We like background noise – to the level of birdsong or water flowing.” And people love to get outside. “We


know that if you put people in a green environment, they recover faster from illness. We are seeing a lot more internal/external space being used now – atriums and more landscaping outside windows, with more offices having natural ventilation and lighting.” Oseland adds: “We don’t want 600 identical desks in an office where the person in the middle never sees daylight.” What all this adds up to is different internal spaces with a variety of shapes, finishes, fittings and furniture, with walls painted in different colours or with different wallcoverings, and with a range of lighting and temperatures. “It’s about how we choose a wall colour


and how that wall colour is going to help people use that space. It’s about human beings and not about the space itself,” says Grigoriou. Oseland notes: “It’s about recognising individuality and giving people an element of control.”


FACILITIES 97


There may be traditional desks in quiet areas, where individuals can crack on with work. There could be rooms with a view and furnished with comfortable seats for people to lounge in. And there may be community rooms where people can meet and chat. Great thought will then have to go into


how each of those spaces blends into each other. “Boring, homogeneous, straight lines will have to give way to more organic, appealing spaces,” says Oseland. “We might have acoustic panels that look like plants and won’t look like walls. It won’t be about a single product but about how each fits in.” Oseland goes on to suggest there will be less uniformity and more diversity: “I’m not saying it will be the death of the desk, but we don’t all need an MDF rectangle.” These are all issues facilities managers will need to take on board.





It’s about recognising individuality and giving people an element of control





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