When businesses make a financial case for green buildings, they often focus on energy efficiency because it is easy to measure the cost and benefits. However, the opportunity to increase employee productivity, even by a small percentage is a much greater financial plus, even if the benefit cannot be precisely measured. If a company provides a comfortable environment that promotes good health, they will find that their employees produce much better results.
A workplace with good air quality, comfortable temperature, natural light and other features associated with green buildings is likely to result in a more productive workforce, according to a study conducted by Jones Lang LaSalle.
In the Global Sustainability Perspective, Jones Lang LaSalle recommends a range of strategies for building managers and corporations to create office environments that promote the wellbeing and health of occupants:
• Indoor air quality
• Allow individual control of indoor air quality levels and ventilation
• Avoid placing printers and copiers near work stations to minimize toner dust pollution
• Use chemical-free cleaning supplies
• Install low emission wall and floor coverings
• Provide air quality monitoring
• Provide workers with effective controls such as task lighting, blinds and shades to reduce solar glare
• Design space layouts to maximize penetration of natural light into work spaces
• Avoid glare on computer screens from lighting and from office windows
• Thermal comfort
• Give workers individual control over workstation temperature, if possible
• Periodically monitor temperature levels
• Access to outside views and external space
• Design open-plan workplace layouts to maximize access to outside views
• Provide access for staff to external space for use as break out and collaboration space, where possible
• Monitor noise levels of printers and copiers
• Provide separate work areas to accommodate various noise levels, such as quiet areas, meeting rooms, and lounges
• Educate employees on proper ergonomic practices
• Provide equipment that reduce musculoskeletal disorders
Dan Probst, Chairman of Energy and Sustainability Services at Jones Lang LaSalle said: “It may be impossible to know exactly how a specific feature in a workplace will affect the productivity of workers in that space, but we do know that many strategies to make buildings more sustainable also enhance occupant wellbeing and promote health, and those factors lead to higher productivity”.
For a growing number of employers worldwide, at its very best the workplace is a powerful way to both affect improved wellbeing and tangibly communicate its importance. When leaders embrace the opportunity to improve employees’ wellbeing, they create more engaging places to work and greater returns for their organization, according to a growing number of studies. When they don’t, it erodes confidence and limits the organization’s ability to grow. Improving employee wellbeing is an opportunity for businesses to improve and grow. And the spaces where work is done can make a significant difference in the end results