Indeed, latest findings from the British Council for Offices show that improving commercial office space can increase levels of productivity by 25 per cent, reduce absenteeism, help retain staff, encourage communication and ultimately increase profitability. And Artillery Architecture which specialises in refurbishment and re-organisation projects, illustrates this research perfectly. “We carried out a refurbishment of Amnesty International’s 60 year old office buildings which has allowed staff numbers to be increased from 320 to 513, repetitive strain injury rates are down 50 per cent, fewer staff suffer from long term sickness absence as a result of natural ventilation which has enhanced air quality and safety in the workplace has improved by 40 per cent,” says Back. He says the company carries out “extensive staff consultation” in order to gauge a company’s current working practices, office environment and projected needs to determine how best to re-plan office space. “We have created similar design solutions for several small companies, such as Mo Ibrahim Foundation, TV Strategy, VTR and we are currently doing work for Graeae Theatre – a disabled-led theatre in London.” And for SMEs that are looking for a cost-effective way of updating their office space, Back encourages them not to throw the baby out with the bath water. “We are currently designing a scheme for a company which has involved reusing much of their existing equipment in their new design. The first phase of the project was tendered at half a million pounds but through reusing materials the budget has been cut by 40 per cent.”
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