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Atkins launches digital tools for employees to drive healthier office design

More thoughtfully designed workplaces, centred around people’s needs, could improve performance and help tackle the UK’s productivity gap. Applying design thinking to boost workplace productivity by 5-8 per cent could contribute up to £20 billion to GDP.

The potential gain in productivity, equivalent to twice the annual contribution to UK GDP made by the aerospace industry, is revealed in research conducted by researchers from Imperial College London in partnership with Atkins, the design, engineering and project management consultancy.

Atkins commissioned the research to better understand and quantify the economic benefit from human centred design (HCD). The research examines the ripple down effect on productivity brought about by an HCD focus on health and wellbeing. This in turn has a benefit for future business growth and can enhance the position of the national economy.

The research underlines the importance of employees’ experience of the building in which they work and confirms that steps to create the right working environment can have a material impact on staff productivity and wellbeing.

It also notes that relatively rapid payback on investment in these areas can be achieved, this is estimated to range between two to six years, with some individual elements seeing payback in as little as six months.

The findings come amid growing scrutiny of the UK’s productivity versus other countries. Recent figures show productivity in the UK continues to lag behind the levels seen before the financial crisis.

Philip Watson, design director at Atkins, said: “This research underlines the incredible potential of human centric design. It puts employees’ productivity and wellbeing at the forefront of building design. Finding ways to boost productivity and strengthen GDP is even more important amid the growing challenges facing parts of the UK economy.”

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