Recent wellbeing research commissioned by Bisley, the British storage specialist, showed that people are desperate for their own space in the workplace. The study of 1000 UK office-based office workers and 50 facilities management experts, which was carried out by an independent research group*, identified a clear and consistent link between personal space and wellness at work.
Colleagues encroaching on personal space is the second biggest distraction in the workplace (after the office being too warm), with 34% of respondents struggling with it. Furthermore, storage issues featured five times in the top 15 disruptors, with messy desks, smelly sports kit and food and stationery hunting all featuring.
Many of these issues can be overcome by the appropriate/intelligent use of storage; something which is often forgotten or not considered in the drive towards flexible spaces and accommodating the diversity of working styles.
Bisley believes there are four key areas to be considered by Facilities Managers, Architects and Designers when looking at personal space and storage in the workplace.
Creating a Sense of Control
With communal workspaces and nomadic working becoming the norm, having somewhere for people to keep personal things is increasingly important because it gives them a space to control and own, and therefore peace of mind.
It’s not easy to create a flexible working environment that works for everyone, but making people feel quickly at home through clearly identified and individual stowage
spaces helps keep employees connected and feeling part of the team. Surprisingly, however, only just over half of the respondents felt they have adequate control over their conditions.
Creating a Sense of Belonging
Employees still desire their own desk, but agile working practices mean this is far from guaranteed. It is becoming increasingly important, therefore, for companies to create a ‘sense of belonging’ in the workplace, to help employees feel at home as well as being part of something. For example, postal slots and moveable internal fittings are common customisable additions to lockers and employees can be given the freedom to personalise their locker with an identifying photo and accessories. Using a mixture of colours and materials on locker doors is a simple and cost-effective way to reflect team zones, company culture or brand.
Creating a Sense of Personal Security
Employees are taking more and more expensive items to work with them, such as gym kit, cycling gear and tech, so it’s unsurprising that people want to keep their belongings close-by throughout the day.
According to a survey by retailer McArtherGlen, the average cost of the contents of a woman’s handbag is £521, so a safe place to stow items is essential. Local banks of secure lockers can help organisations achieve safe, easily accessible storage.
Reducing Disruptive Factors
As well as providing lockers for personal use and units for team storage, office and facilities managers can use storage as way to delineate open plan spaces. And by adding acoustic dampening features to doors, noise travel can be reduced which can help create quieter break out zones. For added flexibility, counter tops and power units can be installed on top of standing-height units for additional touch-down or meeting areas.
Richard Blackwell, CEO at Bisley says:
“In light of these survey results, we believe that personal storage needs to be moved further up the workplace design agenda. Storage is a critical element of every workplace and without adequate provision, businesses simply can’t function effectively and efficiently. So, when considering wellbeing in the workplace, why not start with looking at storage? Reconfigure it, make it multi-functional, use it to inject some colour into the office or reassign it. Never underestimate the peace of mind and sense of control employees can get from having somewhere to keep their personal items.”