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Why comfort should be a priority for your office refurbishment

Comfortable Office WorkerThere are lots of reasons to take on an office refurbishment project. Research from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) has suggested comfort should be part of the mix. CABE suggest that the level of comfort experienced by employees can change productivity by up to 25%.

In their research, CABE defined comfort in an office as being made up of factors including air quality, temperature, noise and lighting. They cite a number of different studies have shown how each of these factors can have a direct impact on productivity in an office.


  • Air Quality – fresh air is seen as vital here. 8% of workers had symptoms linked to a lack of fresh air which reduced their ability to work. The same study found that 3% of workers stayed at home or left work early due to poor air quality in their office.


  • Temperature – we all know that there can be substantial grumbling in the office when it is too hot or cold. One study found that extreme temperatures in an office can decrease productivity by 30%. Another study found that when temperatures exceeded 24 degrees there could be a 46% reduction in typing speed and accuracy.


  • Noise – excess noise can be a major problem in modern open plan offices and offices in city centres. Studies have found that optimum noise levels can improve the performance of simple tasks by 38% and complex tasks by 27%.


  • Lighting – studies have found that good lighting can improve office productivity by between 3% and 20%. It can also reduce absenteeism by 15%.



How can an office refurbishment improve comfort?

An office refurbishment can address many of the comfort issues which have been linked to increases in productivity. In some cases the choice of materials used in an office refurbishment can have a big impact.


Acoustic Ceiling Tiles – there are a range of acoustic ceiling tiles available which can help to control and direct noise within an office. Clever use of acoustic ceiling tiles can create quiet areas within an office without the need to put up internal walls.


VOC Reducing Partitions – the release of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) has been linked to poor air quality in office buildings. VOCs are released from many modern materials but a number of office partition manufacturers have been working on controlling them. You can now get office partitions specifically designed to reduce the emission of VOCs and improve office air quality.


Improved Lighting – new lighting is a key part of many office refurbishments. New lighting is often put in as part of suspended ceiling installations, but lighting which can be controlled at individual desk level through lamps can be a cheap addition which can make a big difference to individual comfort.


Air conditioning – an office refurbishment project is the perfect time to install, or upgrade, air conditioning. While a lot can be done by improving insulation if you really want to be able to control the temperature in an office then air conditioning is the way to go. With the big drops in productivity that can come from uncomfortable office temperatures air conditioning can end up paying for itself.


Barnes Interiors provide a complete office refurbishment service in Essex, London and the surrounding areas. We can help you design and specify a new office environment which will maximise the comfort and productivity of your employees. To find out more about our office refurbishment services please give us a call on 01376 528627 or email

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