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WORKPLACE REVAMP TO BENEFIT HOUSING CHARITY

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A survey launched today by Shelter and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) reveals that 95 per cent of...
A survey launched today by Shelter and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) reveals that 95 per cent of employees believe that improved surroundings would have a positive affect on their performance at work. In addition, 96 per cent of those surveyed believe that improved workplace surroundings would have a positive effect on clients' perception of their organisation.

The survey was commissioned by Komfort Office Environments on behalf of Shelter and the RIBA, to support their new initiative, Architect in the Workplace. The scheme partners architects with businesses throughout the country to discuss the design potential of their workspace, in return for a donation to Shelter. It is taking place as part of Architecture Week, a national celebration of architecture from 21 - 30 June 2002.

Organisational psychologist, Andreas Liefooghe, endorsed the survey findings: 'It is well documented that the physical environment plays an important role with regard to employee performance and well-being. Research into noise, heat and light, for example, have shown that these factors are crucial for a happy, productive and safe workforce.'

Architect in the Workplace is open to all businesses, however large or small, in all sectors of industry, from open plan offices to restaurants or retail outlets. Architects are able to advise on questions such as: how to adapt limited space to accommodate growing demand, how to convert an attic or basement, how to create excellent working conditions and how to maximise energy efficiency in offices.

In return for up to an hour-long consultation with an architect, businesses are asked for a minimum donation of£50, which goes to Shelter. For 2002, the aim is to raise£100,000 for Shelter's work with homeless and badly housed people across the country.

Last year its sister scheme, Architect in the House, raised over£85,000 for Shelter. Since this initiative started in 1997, tens of thousands of people have been impressed by the imaginative and practical ideas which architects have been able to provide in the home, many have taken the plunge and gone ahead with their schemes.

Speaking about the initiative, Chris Holmes, director of Shelter, said: 'The Architect in the House and Architect in the Workplace initiative is ingenious as it opens up the possibility of using an architect to improve conditions for all businesses and households, whilst supporting Shelter's work with thousands of homeless and badly housed people.'

Paul Hyett, President of the RIBA, added: 'The success of Architect in the House has continued to exceed all expectations and Architect in the Workplace looks set to be a similarly successful initiative. The fact that a significant amount of money will be raised for Shelter is a fantastic bonus for everyone involved.'

To register for Architect in the House, participants should phone the Architect in the House hotline on 0870 050 0701 (Lines are open during Architecture Week from 9am-5pm).

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