A recent survey showed that British office workers spend the equivalent of 5 years of their life sitting behind a desk. This obviously has implications when it comes to exercise and fitness, and we’ve already explored some of the ways that you can keep active in the office. It also highlights the fact that people are now spending as much time in the office as they are at home, if not more.

Two other studies looked at the relationship between productivity and how much time people spend working. The University of Toronto found that working through a lunch break actually lowered productivity. A social networking company used a time-tracking productivity app to monitor the habits of their employees. They found that the most productive members of staff didn’t put in longer hours, or even work full eight-hour days in some cases, but they did take regular breaks. Interestingly, their breaks specifically involved getting away from their desk.

RSA Student Design Award

The winner of the 2014 RSA Student Design Awards was an office design that addressed this issue. The space was split into different zones, each designed to support a different type of work. An open space encourages chance encounters, while areas with desks can be sectioned off for concentration as soon as the noise level reaches 75 decibels. Glass pods filled with plants give workers spaces to take regular breaks, away from the work areas. This futuristic approach allows staff to balance their own working day.

- Offspring Films 09 - Paramount D&B

If there’s a risk that future workers might spend more time in the office, it’s worth looking at how this can either be combated or at least recognised in the layout of the workplace.

Written by Helen Bartlett, Design Director.