A simple antidote to toxic workplaces

Vanessa Head

Vanessa Scampton
Consultancy Services Deputy Manager, Assurity Consulting
18th January 2017

Whilst I don't agree with the generalisation that our workplaces are 'toxic', I do agree that their design and management can have a significant impact on employee health and wellbeing.

Fortunately, many of the solutions to these so-called toxic problems don't have to be complicated and expensive. Professionally and independently assessing air quality, including factors such as dust levels, light levels, noise, carbon dioxide, temperature and humidity can give you an indication of whether you are providing a safe and comfortable working environment. The result of this work can then see simple changes targeted to produce effective improvements, these can include for example:

  • relocating printers to secluded areas to reduce noise disturbance;
  • increasing levels of fresh air ventilation to reduce fatigue;
  • adjusting temperature settings to for example meet, Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) recommended levels; and
  • adjust supply grilles to optimise ventilation rates but reduce draughts


Office layout – providing it is empathetic with the ventilation and lighting of course - can also benefit different working styles and make the workplace a more enjoyable and productive space. Of course we would all appreciate a hot tub, pool table, sauna, bar and sun terrace to further reduce our stress levels too!