Office workers could travel six miles a day and boost wellbeing and fitness by switching to outside meetings

A new survey commissioned by Lendlease and LCR shows 58 per cent of UK office workers admitted they feel unsatisfied with the amount of exercise they currently do on a weekly basis, and that almost one in five Brits doesn't leave the office at all during their working day (19 per cent) leading to the nation’s workforce feeling glued to their desks.

The average UK office worker spends two hours each day in meetings according to recent research, enough time to cover six miles (or 12,000 steps) at the average walking speed of three miles per hour.  This means that if workers swapped their office bound meetings for meetings on the move, they would easily exceed the recommended target of 10,000 steps a day.  In addition, just being outside can lift wellbeing and make meetings more stimulating. 

Calling for change in their workplace wellbeing, 60 per cent of office workers say they would want to leave the office more often during the working day and 45 per cent think that they would contribute more positively to meetings if they were to take place outside of their indoor office set up.

To encourage this, a new series of mobile meeting routes in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has been launched today to help improve the health and wellbeing of workers at International Quarter London (IQL) in Stratford.  The new maps are the brain child of Lendlease and LCR, the partners behind IQL, the 22 acre neighbourhood situated at the gateway to the Park, which will be home to nearly 6,300 workers by the end of the year as the FCA and UNICEF join already established TfL in their new home. Cancer Research UK and the British Council will make IQL their new home in 2019 and 2020 respectively when they move their headquarters to Stratford too.

The maps include a selection of different routes to suit a variety of meetings:  The Executive Team follows the broader paths, allowing the senior team to stride confidently while discussing a new vision, inspired by the iconic sites from London 2012 Games.  The Mentor sticks to the quieter paths for those one to one conversations, ending outside the stadium to provide encouragement to achieve personal goals; and The Marathon Ramble, is specially designed for meetings when you just need time to think.

Other routes launched today include The Screen-Break, which provides an opportunity to replace the blue light screen with the blue sky and green spaces of the park. The Brainstorm encourages creativity by taking in the artistic highlights of the park; and The Team Meeting allows the space for collaboration and for everyone to make a contribution.  

A white paper: Fit for Purpose: Steps to tackling Britain’s sedentary working culture, also commissioned by Lendlease and LCR found 78% of British workers regularly sit in one place for more than one hour at a time and that 50% of British workers would change their working habits if they knew about the effects on long term health.

With wellbeing high on the agenda in the workplace, and central to IQL’s ethos, these maps are just one part of the wider proactive approach they are taking to make a difference to the lives of their tenants. All workspaces, as well as the wider environment, are specifically designed to promote health and wellbeing, while an interactive tenant portal promotes a series of wellbeing events and fosters a strong sense of community.  Buildings at IQL are being designed to provide moments of reflection and restoration, using learnings from neuroscience to reduce stress whilst unlocking inspiration.

Andrew Tobin of IQL said:  “Employee wellbeing is now acknowledged as critical to ensure businesses perform at their peak, by encouraging collaborative, innovative thinking in the workplace.  It also helps with staff retention and contributes greatly to creating a well-motivated, positive workforce.  Wellbeing sits at the very heart of IQL which has been designed to create a unique working environment to improve the health of workers both inside the boundaries of the office and beyond. We are very fortunate to have the fantastic Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and all its world-class sporting facilities close by and we have developed our new meeting route map to help our tenants take advantage of this wonderful outside space that is on their doorstep”.

David Joy, Chief Executive of LCR, said: “It’s more important than ever for health and wellbeing to be embedded into workplace design, and the setting of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park made IQL an ideal location to pioneer employee fitness and help to get people away from their desks. We hope that our scheme can inspire other developers to think outside the box, finding creative ways to use different spaces to create truly dynamic office locations that enable employees to do their best work.”