How office furniture can contribute to employee wellbeing

How office furniture can contribute to employee wellbeing

Anil Mathur, Godrej Interio’s COO, on the company’s work towards seating in workplaces, which is aimed at enhancing employee wellbeing

What are the biggest shifts in workspaces, and what cause them?
It starts with the whole process of lifestyle changes, which is why we now see a huge blur between home and office interiors. Organisations want to provide employees with the freedom and flexibility of how and where they choose to work. This is the primary reason behind the incorporation of informal zones, agile seating arrangements, flexible shifts, etc.

How is Godrej adapting to and addressing the need for sustainability?
Sustainability has to start from design, with environmental impact in mind — right from material selection to reusability and recyclable quotient. We were the first in the industry to tie furniture design with sustainability. We assess various aspects before manufacturing a product. For example, the type of boards, adhesives and glues that are utilised, analysing and controlling the elimination of toxic gasses, etc. Lastly, as a manufacturer, by incorporating water and energy neutral systems, we strictly adhere to the green protocol at every stage.

We are also certified by BIFMA E3 Furniture Sustainability Standard. It is a multi-attribute sustainability standard and third-party certification programme for the industry. It assesses the environmental and social impact of a furniture product in a built environment, while simultaneously taking into account a company’s processes, social actions, energy usage, material selection and human and ecosystem health impacts. We also ensure longevity of our products — be it through design, quality or materials — such that clients don’t need to change them too frequently, which indirectly contributes towards sustainability.

What are the parameters considered while designing a product for modern offices?
The most significant objective in our design process is to study prevalent challenges and problems that employees face in the industry. One is the technology-induced sedentary lifestyle of this generation, due to which almost 75% of employees suffer from multiple health concerns. This has become the foundation of our research and design. Each and every product designed by us, at the core, addresses these concerns.

We mandatorily take inputs from ergonomists and orthopedics, who interact with those undergoing occupation-related health issues. We also have an ergonomist in-house, who undertakes regular audits to understand why people sit and behave the way they do, how technology is changing their mannerisms, etc. These learnings are then transformed into elements that are integrated with our products.

We also conduct research to understand how people sit and work at homes, what seating arrangement is more comfortable, and aim at integrating those aspects as well. With the help of technology, we are also constantly improvising. Currently, we’re working on a seating system that is equipped with a sensor that notifies the user to stand up every 45 minutes. It is important for us to bring in these small functional elements into the workspace environment.

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