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Are you a British success story? 14/05/2019

Cleaning Matters turns 20 this year and with that we will be producing a ‘Best of British Guide’ this summer to celebrate all things great about the UK cleaning industry.

As a number of UK companies mark big milestones this year and other businesses witness unprecedented growth or recognition for their remarkable achievements, we thought it was about time we celebrated the very best of British in the cleaning industry.

Despite the uncertainties of Brexit, there is much to celebrate in the UK professional cleaning industry.

Our Guide to the Best of British will cover a range of success stories in professional cleaning – from businesses that are leading the way in UK manufacturing to entrepreneurs that have managed to break through into an industry that is forever innovating. We will also profile UK companies that are celebrating significant anniversaries and take a look at their past, present and future.  

If you or your business has a success story you would like to share - whether you are a manufacturer, distributor, contractor or otherwise, please get in touch by emailing CHackett@western-bp.co.uk

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Hand sanitiser rubbed in for 15 seconds effective at reducing bacteria 10/05/2019

A 15-second application time and three-step technique for use of alcohol-based hand rub is as effective in reducing bacteria as the 30-second application and six-step technique recommended by WHO, and could improve hand hygiene compliance.

That's according to new research carried out by University Hospital Basel and led by Dr Sarah Tschudin-Sutter, of the department of infectiology and hospital hygiene.

WHO recommends a six-step 'how to hand rub' technique for using alcohol-based hand rub. However adherence to all six steps is low and previous research indicates that a simplified three-step hand rub technique is superior to the six-step technique in terms of compliance and killing bacteria.

The current recommended application time for hand rubs is 30 seconds. But recent research suggests that 15 seconds of hand rubbing could be just as effective in reducing bacterial counts.

In this randomised crossover trial, the scientists investigated combining the simpler three-step technique with a shorter application time of 15 seconds.

Twenty volunteers (aged 18-to-51) applied hand sanitiser via four different techniques.  

The first group followed the WHO’s six-step regimen for 30 seconds, while the second group completed the same six steps process but for just 15 seconds. The third group followed a three-step process for 30 seconds and the fourth the same shortened process but for 15 seconds. 

After each application, the researchers analysed the number of bacteria on the participants’ hands. 

Results revealed the 15 second rubs were as effective at reducing bacterial counts as the 30-second process, irrespective of the hand hygiene technique.

Although 15 seconds may sound like a lot to the average person, the researchers hope their study will be good news for healthcare workers.

“The time pressure and heavy workload experienced by healthcare workers reduces compliance with hand hygiene standards,” Dr Tschudin-Sutter said. 

“Our findings suggest shortening hand rubbing time and simplifying the technique for use of hand rub could be a safe alternative that is easier to fit into their busy routine, could enhance the overall quality of hand hygiene performance, and have a positive effect on adherence.”

The researchers stress, however, the study was carried out in a laboratory and therefore different results may occur in a clinical setting. 

They also only looked at how hand sanitisers reduce bacteria and not other pathogens, such as viruses.  

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Slips and trips costing £73M on annual leave 09/05/2019

Employers spend over £73million annually on employee leave due to slips, trips and falls in the workplace, according to new research by Safety Services Direct.

During 2017/2018, 31% of all non-fatal workplace injuries were caused by slips, trips and falls; with an estimated 172,050 cases self-reported by employees.

The Health & Safety Executive also reports that 75% of all self-reported incidents result in up to seven days of absence, meaning that employees are on leave for almost 130,000 days annually: a wasted cost to any employer.

The irony is that slip, trip and fall injuries are some of the easiest to prevent in the workplace. There are measures that can be put into place to significantly reduce these risks such as:

• Keep walking surfaces clean and avoid cluttering

When walkways are clear, the risk of injury greatly reduces. With a path that is unobstructed, the chance of a person falling over an object reduces, as does the potential of a spill that could create a dangerous slipping hazard.

• Clean Up Spills Immediately

If a spill happens in a workplace, it should be cleaned up immediately. If certain liquids penetrate the surface, it can actually cause a surface to be more slippery than before after it has been cleaned up. When a spill takes place, warning signs should be placed around the hazard immediately, and whilst the cleanup of the wet floor takes place. If a floor is known to be slippery anyway, this needs to be highlighted with an appropriate sign.

• Signage

Using health and safety signs that are clear and well placed helps identify areas with potential problems. Placing a sign that indicates a step, gap or an uneven ground brings attention to hazards and increases their awareness and attentiveness. Reflective tape can also highlight issues.

• Step Ladders

Providing accessible equipment such as ladders and step ladders helps employees reach heights safely. By ensuring options are available, this reduces the possibility of an employee being hurt by climbing on chairs or tables.

• Manage Wires

Wires that are out in the open can create obstacles for employees and the public which could cause injury. Cables should be put behind walls or under carpets so they remain hidden. Install all power sources, servers, internet connections in places that can be easily accessed, to avoid cables appearing along walkways.

• Check Condition of the Floor

Cracks and holes in the pavement on the outside should be filled in. Repairing them immediately will reduce the risk of any injury happening. When an area is waiting to be fixed, warning signs should be placed to highlight the danger.

• Keep Filing Cabinets and Drawers Closed

Everybody has to open a filing cabinet or a drawer during the day, but leaving them open can lead to injury. Staff should be encouraged to ensure all drawers and cabinets are closed when not used to avoid potential dangers.

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Cleaner was unfairly sacked for Topshop pay protest 27/02/2019

A cleaner who was sacked after ­leading a protest against low pay that briefly closed a branch of Topshop is set to receive damages of up to £75,000.

An employment tribunal ruled that Susana Benavides, 43, had been unfairly sacked for trade union activities.

Ms Benavides was one of 200 people who took part in a protest against low pay for agency cleaners in front of the Oxford Street branch of Topshop in London in March 2016.

Ms Benavides said that she was paid £6.75 an hour at the time and wanted “a few pounds more” to take her and her colleagues to the level of the London living wage, which for 2015-16 was £9.40.

The tribunal was told that the protest forced the store to be closed for 15 minutes while demonstrators spoke through megaphones and brandished homemade signs.

Shortly after the protest Ms Benavides was sacked by her “thoroughly irked” bosses at Britannia Services Group, which was a cleaner contractor to Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, which owns Topshop. The contractor claimed the dismissal was ­justified as she had used social media to whip up support against its client, Topshop. 

Ms Benavides, a mother of three who is from Ecuador and lives in Finsbury Park, took her legal proceedings against Britannia to the Central London Employment Tribunal.

Although she won the right to compensation, damages have not yet been calculated, but tribunal documents revealed that she has been asking for £75,000.

Judge David Pearl said that Britannia had fired Ms Benavides for exercising her right to campaign for better pay and conditions as part of a union.

“No reasonable employer would have been acting reasonably in dismissing Mrs Benavides in the circumstances,” said the judge.

“The entire process, we conclude, was designed to ensure that she was dismissed as a result of the various trade union activities she had been engaged in.”

The tribunal heard Ms Benavides, who cleaned the Topshop store from 2009 to her sacking in October 2016, was a shop steward for United Voices of the World, a union which represents mostly low-paid migrant workers.

She became a leader of a campaign for the London Living Wage, which sent a letter to Britannia asking for pay rises and noting that Sir Philip’s Arcadia Group had recorded a rise in profits. Mrs Benavides also started an online petition addressed to Topshop and Sir Philip, requesting that they “pay your cleaners the Living Wage”. 

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'UK cleaning craze' sees job applications double 26/02/2019

A cleaning craze gripping the UK gig economy is said to be behind a rise in cleaning job applications, which increased by more than 50% in Dec 2018 compared with the previous year.

That's according to UK hiring app Job Today, which believes that the surge in job-seekers is down to the popularity of social media stars such as Mrs Hinch, whose cleaning hacks on Instagram attracted widespread attention in summer 2018.

Following the launch of streaming service Netflix's viral documentary 'Tidying up with Marie Kondo' in January 2019, Job Today also recorded a 42% increase in cleaning-based applications compared to January 2018.

Employers are also jumping on the hygiene hype and the number of cleaning roles available increased by over 40% on the Job Today platform across the past two months.

Polina Montano, founder of Job Today, said: “Just like millions of other young Brits working in casual jobs, people are now realising that cleaning can be a viable career path. The rise of these influencers using technology to create their own movement shows that casual jobs can be inspiring and that opportunities can be found everywhere – including in doing everyday chores. What matters today is not your job title or status but the passion you bring to your work and your life work balance."

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Flexible working on the rise in London 25/02/2019

The number of flexible working locations in central London has grown by 42 per cent over the past year, according to a report by flexible office provider Office Freedom.

The company says this growth is driving ever more competitive rates and lowering the cost of all kinds of office spaces within the capital. 

Over the last two years, office prices in Hammersmith have fallen by 29 per cent, whilst Paddington is 32 per cent cheaper as a direct result of greater flexible space availability. The rates in prestigious Knightsbridge are still amongst the highest in Central London, but have dropped by 38 per cent between 2014 and 2018. 

Richard Smith, CEO of Office Freedom, said: “The increase in availability of flexible working spaces from new operators and attractive terms have maintained pressure on workstation rates. Whilst areas such as Mayfair and Knightsbridge continue to demand the highest average workstation rates at nearly £900, rates can be as low as just £328 in East London.”

He added: “There are market uncertainties due to Brexit, but businesses increasingly want to be able to react to whatever conditions they face. Flexible workspaces allow businesses to scale up or down on demand and only pay for the space they need.”

As 95 per cent of workers cite the office environment as being important to their well-being and mental health in research by Peldon Rose, Smith believes that flexible workspaces can offer employers an advantage.

He said: “Companies appreciate the link between modern workspaces and employee productivity and wellness, and the right environment can have a beneficial effect on staff recruitment and retention.”

The ‘Flexible Workspace Boom’ report can be downloaded free from www.officefreedom.com

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Laying the foundations 25/02/2019

Welcome to the first issue of Facilities Matters, the magazine for workplace and facilities management professionals (FM) professionals.

As organisers of the leading exhibition dedicated to the UK’s facilities and workplace industry, The Facilities Event, we know just how dynamic and forward-thinking the FM industry is, and we're very excited to be launching a magazine for professionals who are passionate about creating spaces and maintaining buildings that will enhance the lives of the people that use them.

The journal will provide time-pressed workplace and facilities management professionals with everything they need to know in one place, including the latest news and expert insight, in-depth reports on trends and developments, coverage of key events and new legislation, as well as new products and services. 

In line with how our seminar programmes are delivered at The Facilities Event, our topical features will be divided into the 'Five Pillars of FM'. These cover key elements within the FM profession and include Cleaning Services, Security, Catering, Property Management and Support & Technology Services.

In this issue, we'll be focusing on 'Support & Technology Services', including how to improve your front of house and what the future holds for robotics in FM.

We look at how one of the most forward-thinking serviced office providers is putting employee wellbeing at the heart of its new building, with each room carefully designed to bring a smile to the face with some superbly creative ideas.

Facilities Matters also speaks to OCS, the outsourced cleaning, security and maintenance provider for the Oval cricket ground in Kennington, as it prepares for a big test this summer when thousands of fans descend upon the grounds to enjoy the Cricket World Cup and The Ashes.

With The Facilities Event (9-11 April, NEC, Birmingham) just around the corner, we provide a comprehensive preview of what visitors can expect from the exhibition and free conference programme. 

We're also pleased to present the first of a three-part series sponsored by RPC bpi recycled products on Recycling & Waste Management, a sector that is increasingly at the forefront of innovation and ingenuity.

In 2019, we'll be producing two more editions of Facilities Matters inside the July and November issues of Cleaning Matters. If you'd like to get involved or find out more, please email me at CHackett@western-bp.co.uk

We hope you enjoy reading it!

Catherine Hackett

Editor

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Wales introduces fixed penalties to prevent fly-tipping 21/02/2019

New fixed penalties of £300 have been introduced in Wales to prevent fly-tipping.

The penalties, which came into force on 21st February, will allow local authorities to have a more efficient enforcement system which could free up resource and act as a deterrent. Authorities will have the option to offer an early payment of £150.

Under the waste duty of care, householders have an obligation to make sure waste produced on their property is transferred to an authorised person for disposal.

The new penalties will be an alternative to the often lengthy and expensive process of taking offenders through court.

Around 60% of fly-tipped waste in Wales comes from households.

Hannah Blythyn, deputy minister for housing and local government, said: “Often people in these households haven’t fly-tipped the waste themselves, but they have failed to carefully check who they passed their waste to for disposal.

“We consulted widely on these proposals and received widespread support. Local authorities who responded asked for a consistent, national approach to setting penalties and for the level of the penalty to be proportionate to the offence.”

A campaign is being developed by the Welsh government to help people understand their waste duty obligations.

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Reaping rewards from reuse 27/03/2019

Brighton & Hove City Council's first reuse manager, Cat Fletcher, tells Catherine Hackett how businesses can run their own re-use programmes and cut waste costs 

Cat Fletcher has good reason to call herself 'the resource goddess'. Over the past decade, she's successfully carved out a career turning other people's junk into someone else's treasure. 

In 2009, she co-founded non-profit organisation Freegle, a network that enables thousands of people throughout the UK to give their unwanted goods away online.

"They can be lovely and useable but you can also pass on things like a broken toaster that you don't know how to fix," she says.

Fletcher also became the first person to be hired as a reuse manager by Brighton & Hove City Council, meaning she is called in during building renovations to sort through all the unwanted waste and redistribute it to local businesses and charities. 

On top of that, she worked with architect Duncan Baker-Brown to source materials for the award-winning Waste House, which was built at the University of Brighton in 2014. The house is 90% constructed with repurposed rubbish, ranging from videotapes and floppy discs to toothbrushes and denim jeans.

Fletcher has always been passionate about reuse. "I've always bought secondhand," she says. 

Originally from Australia, Fletcher moved to the UK 26 years ago after marrying a man from Brighton. She was "horrified" to find there were no weekly kerbside recycling collections. 

"So I bought a van and I used to pick up all my friends' recycling and take it to a recycling place for them," she says. "They thought I was totally bonkers!"

According to World Bank researchers, at least 3.1 million tonnes of plastic and other solid waste is created globally every day, 10 times the amount a century ago. Environmentalists say finding new uses for old materials should have as much prominence as recycling. And with limited resources in the world, Fletcher thinks it's logical for us to reuse more of our stuff.

Council collaboration

After winning a local volunteering eco-award ten years ago, Fletcher was invited to sit on Brighton & Hove's sustainability partnership – a quarterly meeting between businesses, charities and the local authority to discuss how they can make the city more sustainable.

"After a couple of years of attending these meetings I started to get really cranky because I would arrive to the council building and there would invariably be a skip outside full of filing cabinets, desks and equipment that the council was throwing out," Fletcher recalls. 

"I did nag them to death, and eventually at one meeting they said: 'We don't know what else to do. We have this ongoing problem of updating our furniture or renovating our buildings, and we have to use a licensed waste manager'. 

"I suggested to them that they could employ me and I would just find people that could reuse whatever they were throwing out."

Fletcher was given a month to clear the floor of one office building that was being renovated and redistribute 16.9 tonnes of waste.

"I documented everything I did, and there was only a couple of wheelie bins of genuine waste at the end of the project. There were no skips used, no waste disposal."

She presented a report to the council of the carbon savings and money saved in waste disposal costs. Impressed by the figures, the finance director gave her a contract immediately.

Fletcher has since cleared 12 council buildings, including four-storey office blocks, town halls, nurseries and care homes.

The most challenging project involved emptying Kings House, the largest office block in the city at 100,000 square feet and housing 1,000 staff. It took 18 months to empty 170 tonnes of furniture and equipment, and for nine months the building was still occupied. 

By working in partnership with Freegle and reaching out to local community and voluntary sector organisations, Fletcher was able to ensure nothing went to landfill. 

The project benefited local residents, universities, schools, hospitals, businesses, and charities, which reused 150 tonnes of furniture and equipment. It also saved the council £41,000 in disposal costs, and resulted in 225 tonnes of carbon savings (reduced CO2 emissions). 

Making it work

For those thinking of replicating similar projects, Fletcher recommends using the actual building they are vacating as a temporary reuse depot "so that you physically don't need to handle and transport everything, then redistribute everything from that space".

Saying that, Fletcher does own 10 shipping containers where she can take the leftovers at the end of jobs and continue trying to find them a home.  

Communicating with staff is also important.

"I work with all the teams before they vacate a building, otherwise people in an effort to conceal their waste will just whack everything in a black bin bag and tie a really tight knot in it and and try to sneak it out of the building in any way they can," she says.

"Sometimes we'll set up an amnesty room within the building where they can take anything they don't want and put it in that room, which means it doesn't go in a bin and it's sitting there waiting for me to come along."

Another benefit of running the projects out of the facilities she's clearing is that staff who are a bit cynical can see the positives with their own eyes.

"They will see a charity pull up in a van and take four chairs and a desk away, and be super grateful," Fletcher says.

Once Fletcher has audited all the items – everything from paperclips and chandeliers to packets of biscuits and printers – she works with the security and IT department to make sure there are no breaches of data; any paperwork that should be shredded or isolated is taken care of. 

She then goes about finding the best next destinations for the unwanted goods, which can require her to think outside the box.

"Say I've got 500 plastic in-trays that are used for stacking paper in, they might go to a festival to build a sculpture or something like that," she says.

Corporates, Local Authorities and the NHS can also use an online commercial platform called Warp It, which enables them to offer the items among themselves before they give away their unwanted assets.

Scarce resources

Fletcher collaborates across all sectors to provide solutions to the waste problems that affect us all. She regularly runs Tech-Takeback pop-up shops where people can bring their unwanted electronics along for free data wiping. If it's reusable, Fletcher uses her network to find them a new home. 

She says: "A whole variety of precious metals and soon-to-be scarce resources are in electronic and electrical devices so it's a very good kind of product to be making sure that they're not sitting around doing nothing and to make sure that they don't go to incinerators to be burnt or buried in landfill."

Attitudes towards waste are starting to change. 

"When we opened the Waste House in 2014, people still thought that we were a bit kooky, whereas now we're being absolutely fully embraced as way ahead of the game," Fletcher says.

She acknowledges that this has been helped along by the airing of the TV series Blue Planet II in 2017, which showed millions the damage that plastic is causing to marine wildlife.

Fletcher's next plan is to buy a secondhand mobile library van to bring Tech-Takeback events to places that are more difficult to get to.

"If you can make it fun that's great, but a lot of the magic comes about when you just make these services really easy and convenient – people just jump on it."

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The pursuit of happiness 20/02/2019

Serviced office provider Office Space in Town is preparing to open what it claims will be "the happiest place to work in London". Catherine Hackett spoke to the company's CEO and development director to find out if it can live up to such high expectations 

Not many people can say they've brainstormed inside a hot air balloon or hosted a board meeting onboard an international space station. Soon, though, more than 475 people will be able to do just that when a new serviced office space opens in London. 

The creative design behind 22 Tudor Street in Blackfriars has been inspired by the theme of “happiness”, and is intended to help boost productivity and wellness at work.

The hot air balloon and space station aren't real by the way. These are two of nine individually designed meeting rooms based on the theme of ‘what makes you happy’. These rooms will be one of the key highlights at the 37,500 sq ft. serviced office space, which will also be the first in the UK to use smart windows that tint automatically.

The building is currently undergoing an extensive £8.5 million refurbishment and will be open to tenants from June 2019. 

Creativity meets flexibility

The Blackfriars project is the latest offering from serviced office provider Office Space in Town (OSiT), perhaps best known for its 'Alice in Wonderland'-inspired office in Waterloo, which opened in 2014 and has been 95% occupied ever since. 

"I think we proved that people wanted something different, and we've made a concerted effort to make sure that every one of our buildings is now an individual building," Simon Eastlake, developments director at OSiT, says.

OSiT's other locations include a board game theme at Liverpool Street, a nautical theme at Monument, and an Art Deco style in Mayfair.

The company takes care of utilities, bills and the day-to-day running of the building through a dedicated onsite management and operational team, so businesses are free to hit the ground running. 

With all-inclusive rents, instant occupancy and flexible contracts as short as three months, serviced offices have become a popular option for thousands of London businesses. 

"Businesses can scale up or scale down, which you can't do if you take a fixed lease space," Eastlake says.

This, he adds, suits today's fast-paced business environment. 

"I don't think business as a whole now has the ability to be able to commit to a fixed lease for 10 or 15 years. Technology moves so quickly that you may have had a hundred staff 10 years ago and now you only need five."

Add to that the ability to network.

"You're in a community of other businesses so you get to pitch your businesses to clients in the next office or at community events," OSiT CEO Giles Fuchs says. "And we do find our clients are doing a lot of business with other clients."

Wellness at work

OSiT offers serviced office suites to substantial businesses that may have their HQ elsewhere but wish to replicate the quality of their image in London with a handful of employees.

Providing a nice work environment can also help employers show their staff that they value them. This can not only improve employee motivation and engagement but also attract and retain new talent.

Fuchs adds: "The businesses occupying our offices tell us that they wouldn't have been able to attract the calibre of candidate to work for them if the space wasn't so beautifully designed. The other thing they tell us in terms of their staff is that they stay longer because of the space they're working in."

One often overlooked catalyst for productivity is employee happiness. A recent survey by recruitment firm Robert Half suggests a happy worker is 12 per cent more productive than a miserable one. 

While creating an environment where people want to work has been key to all of OSiT's serviced offices, the focus on wellness will be ramped up at 22 Tudor Street as the main theme is inspired by happiness.

"If businesses take an office here, their staff are happier, they're more productive,  the client is more successful, and they stay longer with us," Eastlake says.

From space station to sea haven

To achieve this, OSiT worked with designer Sam Kopsch Studio, with the fit-out managed by commercial office design specialists Area. 

To create a feeling of calm when you enter, the reception area has been designed in the style of a five-star hotel and spa. The design is based on the biophilia hypothesis, which suggests humans seek connections with nature. That means neutral colours, natural materials and plants hanging like a canopy from the ceiling, along with soft seating.

The rest of the ground floor houses eight of the themed meeting rooms, which vary in size from four- to 30-person suites. 

To determine the theme of each meeting room, Sam Kopsch Studio sent out a survey to the entire build team and asked: What makes you happy? 

Many of the responses evoked the wonder and delight of childhood, with nostalgia for seaside holidays and the joy of play and make-believe. 

Besides the hot air balloon and space station themes mentioned earlier, you can choose to take your meeting in an aquatic haven under the sea, complete with mermaid, or in a train-themed room where an electric train set runs along the meeting room table. 

If those don't have you skipping to your meeting, you can opt for rooms inspired by Lego, filled with model cars or covered in 'infinity' mirrors – reminiscent of house of mirrors attractions at funfairs. There is also an auditorium filled with balloons.

Eastlake adds: "It's all about bringing a smile to your face. You may not like all of the designs but you'll certainly want to show them off – we have this in other buildings where our tenants are really proud of where they work and they want to show their clients the meeting rooms."

Giant bugs in the basement

The basement houses a safari-themed boardroom for 20 people with giraffes coming out of the walls as well as a meeting room, which isn't themed but has a large interactive screen for people to get collaborative over presentations. 

This floor also features a large business lounge, which is a different take on the trend for biophilia.

"It's more based around the 'Honey I Shrunk The Kids' film and collecting bugs when you were a kid," Eastlake says. "There are some beautiful plants and natural design on the carpets, and then you have a 7ft butterfly in a box along with a ladybird and a stag beetle, so real talking points."

As a healthy body can also help to bring a healthy mind, the environment will look to encourage tenants to exercise by providing cycle storage and shower and changing facilities, as well as a gym studio. 

There are also plans to "gamify the stairs" to encourage people to take the stairs and not the lift by running competitions such as 'the first company to climb Everest by using the stairs wins a prize'.

The basement will also house a 1980s-themed games arcade, which is aimed at creating a community feel, and there will be monthly competitions on the various games to facilitate this.

Take a break

The high design is confined to the reception, common areas and meeting rooms, "so if you really don't like them you don't have to use those spaces," Giles says. "The offices where you actually work are fairly vanilla so companies can brand their own space."

Over 475 workstations will be split between five office floors, with suites available to rent for between two and 40 people. 

Each floor has its own individual colour treatment. Inspirational quotes displayed on the walls to encourage wellbeing and mindfulness are the only obvious signs of the happiness theme, but more subtle elements have been designed in to motivate and encourage a healthy mindset. One of these is giving tenants more space, with an average of 48 sq ft of office space per person. 

There are lots of other seating where you can get away from your office too: people can have informal meetings or eat their lunch in large breakout areas, and phone booths mean private phone calls no longer have to be taken in the corridor. Each office floor also contains a large kitchen complete with microwaves, dishwashers and fridges. 

For the first time in its offices, OSiT will be bringing in sit-stand desks as standard. 

Sit-stand desks are already popular in Scandinavia, with over 90% of office workers having a sit-stand desk in Denmark, and they're starting to become more commonplace in the UK.

While research into the benefits of sit-stand desks is ongoing, a greater level of movement – even between the two postures if you are unable to take regular breaks – is important as it encourages good blood flow that, in turn, maintains alertness and reduces muscular fatigue. 

Smooth operator

Smooth building operation is just as important as the design of serviced offices when it comes to providing a comfortable environment. Over the years, OSiT has learnt that there are four factors in particular that are most important to tenants.

"We can put all the fluffy bits around the edge but great IT with consistent, quality broadband, high standard soundproofing, individually controlled air conditioning, and remarkably clean buildings – that's really what is most important when you're sat at your desk everyday," Fuchs says.

To achieve the latter, OSiT set up its own cleaning company after spending many years trying to find quality cleaners, and it now provides a housekeeper for each building.

Natural light and a pleasant view can also enhance wellbeing at work. In consideration of this, 22 Tudor Street will be the first building in the UK to feature Clear View Dynamic Glass – intelligent, electrochromic windows that automatically tint to maximise natural light and reduce heat and glare. 

Eastlake says: "Unfortunately in the UK when the sun comes out, you pull the blinds down, and you lose all your natural light and all your view. 

"The windows that we're putting into Tudor Street are connected to a weather station on the roof which tracks the weather live. The windows change from clear to 90% dark, depending on cloud cover and where the sun is in the sky, so they're in constant flux. It means we've done away with blinds completely and so you as an employee will never lose your view."

Service, of course, is key to keeping tenants happy, and while Eastlake believes it's the quirky designs that attract clients to its buildings in the first place, it's "the social events we put on, the community feel, and the quality of our staff that keeps our clients in the building".

At a target monthly desk rate of £750, happiness doesn't come cheap but, according to the latest studies, it can certainly pay.

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