Employers must create comfortable workspaces

empty office

In November 2018, another business falling foul of health and safety guidelines hit the headlines.

Despite being named Dudley and South Staffordshire Pub of the Year for 2018 by CAMRA, The Cat Inn, Enville, was fined £17,475 for poor food hygiene.

In total, the pub pleaded guilty to 12 breaches, leading to a formal caution and a five-figure fine. However, while stories of businesses missing food safety standards are all too common, there’s a growing push for tighter controls with regards to office working conditions.

Ensuring food products are housed and prepared in suitable conditions is standard, but now there are increasing concerns that office workers should expect certain levels of comfort.

Staff Safety Standards Are Becoming Increasingly Important

For business owners, there is now an increasing number of guidelines designed to keep office employees safe, comfortable and, ultimately, more productive. As defined by UNISON, Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations (1992) are minimum standards.

In order for a business to avoid any unnecessary lawsuits or fines, employers need to ensure their premises offer high-quality ventilation, lighting, cleanliness, workstations and more. In fact, when you look through the UNISON guidelines, there are 18 areas that employers need to focus on.

Over the last decade, temperature regulations have become the main focus for employers and employees. At present, there is no upper limit for how hot an office has to be before employees are allowed to leave.

However, the temperature should always be at least 13 degrees Celsius with an average level of 16. While focusing on temperature is understandable, there are other issues that business owners should be concerned about. Lighting is one area noted by UNISON and one that can have an unwitting effect on an employee’s productivity.

Finding the Right Light

Depending on the type of light we’re exposed to, our emotions can change. For example, 2014 research suggests that bright light can heighten emotions. Conversely, blue light makes us feel more energetic. Beyond that, lighting can also have an impact on our appetite. From this, it’s easy to see why modern offices now have to choose the right lights.

In an office, ceiling lights are the main focus. Should you use glass ceiling lights, round LED lights or something like the Daria ceiling light with variable settings? At Lights.ie, you’ll not only be able to search various forms of indoor and outdoor lighting, but get energy rating data. Being able to see whether a light is A+ or A++ rating will  help you find the best value product and ensure your purchases are cost-effective in terms of expense vs. benefits.

Using the options list above, variable lights might be costlier but they give you the ability to adjust the level of light in the room.

This, in turn, allows you to react to the seasons and times of the day. Indeed, if you’re working on the premise that bright lights increase energy and, therefore, productivity, a savvy business owner would gradually turn up the lights throughout the day.

When you combine this with a proactive approach to temperature settings, two of the main bases are covered in terms of comfort. Health and safety standards for office workers are just as important as those linked to the food industry.

Keeping members of staff comfortable is not only a basic human right but the difference between a productive workforce and an unproductive one.