24. 05. 2017 Corporate responsibility

Business Leaders Forum: Healthy offices make satisfied employees

How to ensure that people in offices can concentrate, don’t fall ill and feel well?

According to a Human Spaces report, which looked into the work environment of 3,600 employees from 8 EMEA countries, 55% of the office workers had no live plants in the office, 42% of the employees had no natural light, 22% did not have a quiet place to work in when at the office. According to a Forbes survey, more than a third of employees (36%) would give up a part of their income to feel happier at work and work in a more pleasant environment.

We spend about a third of our lives at work, most of us indoors. The environment we work in, therefore, has a significant impact on our physical and mental health as well as on our motivation and performance. What should companies do to ensure that people in their offices can concentrate, don’t fall ill and feel well?

The Business Leaders Forum issued another set of recommendations for companies which want to be socially responsible, this time on healthy offices.

Download the recommendation here: 

The Business Leaders Forum recommends

If possible, think “green” while selecting/building your head office. Green buildings are not only environment-friendly, but also considerate of the people who live and work inside them. They provide a supply of healthy fresh air without harmful substances, good lighting, thermal comfort, and sufficient space for both personal and professional needs. By the end of 2016, 20 buildings in Slovakia had obtained international environmental certification.

Sufficient natural daylight or the possibility to regulate the temperature in offices have a great impact on employees’ health and well-being. Another important aspect is healthy office equipment. The employees of the pharmaceutical company Bayer, for example, work in tailor-made offices for one to four employees with sufficient natural light and the possibility to regulate the temperature in them. When selecting equipment for the offices, the company gave preference to a supplier who uses natural materials and manufactures environment-friendly and long-lasting furniture.  

Green plants in offices have a significant impact on employees’ mental health and well-being. Chronic stress narrows arteries and raises blood pressure and tension in the nervous system. However, green colour calms down the nervous system, decreases blood pressure, and fights exhaustion. 

Quiet as a path to higher productivity

Open-plan offices, which have been in frequent use since the 1980s, are increasingly criticized not only by employees, but also by researchers who explore their impact on people’s job performance and health. According to an Ipsos and Steelcase survey, which has involved over 10,000 employees in 14 countries, 85% of the employees are dissatisfied with the quality of their work environment and cannot concentrate. Besides lower costs, the main argument in favour of open-plan offices is that they improve employees’ cooperation. However, it is nothing but a myth. It is true that people in open-plan offices talk to each other more often, but not necessarily about work-related issues.

In TNT they reduced noise by separating the space with cabinets and room dividers and furnishing it with a special floor. The desks in TNT are arranged in nests of four to eight interconnected work stations (a work station = a desk with equipment). Each floor in the building has a boardroom where people can have confidential work-related conversations, and employees have access to a relaxation room.

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