Category: Standing Desks

Why Sound Acoustics Is Vital to Office Design

Offices come in all sorts of layouts from sleek open plan, to period offices in city centres.

The challenge in both cases is to find a solution that not only creates a sense of space but also provides privacy and a quiet place to work for those employees who need it. So when designing an office layout, a delicate balancing act needs to be struck to ensure that everyone in the workplace will be happy.

Unlike visual distractions, which can simply be screened off or hidden by a simple re-arrangement of furniture and screens. Unfortunately, good acoustics will require a more complicated solution to reduce noise from phones, chatter and colleagues moving from one place to another.

All of this can become very frustrating for those who require peace and quiet to do their best work, which will in turn hinder productivity.

While the modern trend continues to lean towards the open plan spaces which have been seen as the best way to develop cooperation and creativity since the 1950s.

To improve acoustics in your office requires knowledge of how sound impacts on different surfaces and how it is absorbed by others.

This starts with the introduction of carpets, acoustic panels and acoustic screens which can help reduce noise dramatically. Then create separate spaces for collaborative work so as not to disturb those staff members who prefer to work in quiet isolation from time to time.

Is Having A Stuffy Office Bad For Your Brain?

Research into the effects of bad air quality in offices says so. Poor air quality is said to be responsible not only for poor cognitive performance but also health.

Researchers have reported in Environmental Health Perspectives that working in stuffy offices can halve cognitive scores. The news that half of office staff could be performing at half their normal mental capacity is unlikely to be well received by business owners.

Research found that simply opening a window or two to let in some fresh air can bring positive benefits, however this may not be possible in the depths of winter when staff may complain about the cold instead.

Yet if productivity levels are to reach their maximum it is clear that offices should be designed to expose people to at least some fresh air during the day. A fresh breeze might be all staff need to increase their production levels and brain functioning.

The study was limited to just 24 professionals, but it did include architects, designers and engineers. The study was conducted over 2 weeks in what was laid out as a typical office space. The study examined Co2 a VOC levels and how the gas impacts on performance.

Scores in tests were over 60% higher when conditions were set for these gases to be reduced indoors.

Is Standing up the New Sitting Down?

There’s growing concern amongst medical experts regarding the negative impact that sitting down for long periods of time can have on our health. And, of course, many of us spend most of our working day sitting at a desk.

Scientific studies over the last decade have shown that too much sitting down can lead to obesity plus an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes. headaches caused by poor posture, slipped discs as the spine becomes less flexible and, frighteningly, an increased risk of developing some cancers due to the increased levels of insulin sedentary people experience.

These findings were found to hold true whether or not people are physically active in their spare time.

But there simple things you can do to reduce your risk of ill health. Rotating your feet at the ankles and getting up to walk around every 20 minutes or so should help the circulation in your legs and prevent fluid build-up in your ankles. For back, shoulder and headaches due to poor posture, stand up every hour and interlock your fingers behind your back for a few seconds. And always use the stairs!

But Mike Trenell, professor of movement and metabolism at Newcastle University says that simply standing up as much as possible is the best thing you can do – standing up engages the abdominal muscles, calves and quadriceps, and the more muscles you use, the better.

The results of all of this research have led to a huge rise in the sale of treadmill desks in the United States – sales have tripled since 2012. The walkable desks are designed specifically for an office setting and move at around 1-2 miles per hour, which increases the heart rate but is a comfortable pace to carry on working. Of course, treadmill desks aren’t suitable for many offices, so standing desks are also becoming an ever more popular trend. Standing desks stack on top of an existing desk and can increase your heart rate by up to 10 beats per minute – standing at your desk for just three hours per day can burn up to 50 calories per hour. That’s 750 over a five day week, which over the course of a year would burn off around 8lbs of fat.

Here at Millennium SI we’re at the forefront of innovative and creative office design. So if you think it’s time to stand up and be counted as a business that promotes health and wellbeing in the workplace, we’d be happy to source and supply the latest standing or treadmill desks for you. Just get in touch and we’ll do the rest.