Free fruit and fitness classes: the hallmarks of the modern workplace
Originally posted on The Irish Times on Tuesday, September 25th, 2018.
With the modern workplace constantly evolving, our Director, Clare Kelly, sits down with the Irish Times to discuss some of the future changes employers should expect and what they can do to meet these changes head on.
The workplace of yore can often conjure up grey images of dull cubicles, frayed plastic plants and thinking Dolly Parton was indeed very right when she said working nine to five was just all taking and no giving.
Fortunately, the modern office is now very much in technicolour, with less rigid hours and a greater emphasis on making it a place that is both pleasant and productive.
There are a number of features that are becoming the norm rather than the exception in today’s workplace. Everything from ergonomic furniture, quality air and lighting systems to daily fruit baskets, quiet zones, social spaces, flexible working arrangements and on-site wellness programmes are becoming a baseline in many offices.
With musculoskeletal disorders one of the main work-related illnesses reported by employees in a 2016 ESRI report, along with the news that sitting has become the new smoking, incorporating more movement into the day is becoming a key feature of the workplace. This isn’t just limited to providing sit-to-stand desks, which are becoming more and more popular, it’s also about creating flow in the office.
“The layout is probably something that employers are spending more time taking into consideration,” says Clare Kelly, director of Glandore, an Irish company that provides high-end serviced offices and co-working spaces to rent in Dublin, Cork and Belfast.
“There’s an appreciation now that sitting is a major health risk and can lead to obesity, diabetes, cancer etc. If you’re in an open-plan office, it’s about facilitating different spaces to do your job so you’re not just sitting at the same desk all the time.”
As such, social spaces and team break-out areas are becoming much more common, not only to help foster a sense of community but also to encourage people to have a change of scenery.