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Green Offices Will Boost Your Productivity and Make You Richer

“We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us” Winston Churchill

Could Winston really have known that down the road, that the world would be plagued with climate change issues, deforestation and all the things which cause environmental changes and affect human life when he made this statement?

Is there a business case for green building? If the human benefits of green building could be reliably quantified, could it prove the return on investment in building green. After all, staff remuneration and benefits account for about 90% of operating costs in business.

So, what could appear as an improvement in employee health or productivity, can be financially draining for employers – one that is especially many times larger than other financial savings associated with an efficiently designed and operated building.

From having plants in your work-space to the kinds of light used in the office or working in the right temperature, studies have shown that people who work in “green” offices, literally surrounded by plants, are happier than people who work in offices without live foliage.

With this in mind, employers, building owners, designers, developers, and investors have become increasingly aware are responding to an increasing body of evidence, that highlights how office design affects the health, well-being and productivity of occupants, so much so that it is deemed a smart business move to create green buildings.

Staff members, being one of the most valuable resource in any business typically account for a large chunk of business operating cost. So any small or significant improvement in productivity can have major impacts on the bottom line of such businesses. That is why investors and or employers are quickly discovering the economic value of creating market healthy green buildings for their staff.

Reports like this show best practice examples that employers who care about the health and well-being of their staff, endeavor to improve the quality of their work-space. This inadvertently leads to increased productivity and loyalty.

Teams of experts according to the report investigated a range of office design factors. These are indoor air quality, thermal comfort and day-lighting, acoustics, interior layout, views and biophilia. Results from the report clearly shows that the design of an office has a material impact on the health, well-being and productivity of its occupants.

The organizational or financial outcomes from an office environment can be measured in some ways, all of which have financial implications for the employer. These include absenteeism, staff turnover/retention, revenue, medical cost and complaints, task efficiency among others.

Basically, to support our notion on better office conditions enhancing productivity, we will be doing a deep dive into the health, well-being and productivity report. The following are components of a typical office space that are indicators of health and well-being.

Indoor air quality & thermal comfort

The health and productivity benefits of good indoor air quality are well accepted. One major complaint that employees have about their offices is thermal issues. It is either, the work environment is too hot or too cold.

Even though it might be a petty issue, it has genuine effect on work. A study has found that if you’re too cold, productivity can drop 4% and 6% if you’re too hot. Most of the time, temperature extremes waste productive energy.

Air quality in its own way makes a difference. Polluted indoor air can make people working in offices feel sleepier and less able to process thoughts effectively. Results from a lab study, find that better ventilation improved workers’ performance by 11%.

Day lighting & lighting

Good lighting is not just good for plants, it is also crucial for occupant satisfaction within a building. As you open up to the understanding of health and well-being benefits of light, you should be eager to work in office spaces with adequate lightning.

You will most likely work better if you sit close to a window, taking in nature and probably a view. Daylight makes us more productive. Aside from helping with improved performance during the workday, light also helps to improve sleep–which in turn makes concentration and thinking easier the next day.

Research favors that office workers with windows get 173% more exposure to white light during the work day, and sleep an average of 46 extra minutes a night. Again, offices that are exposed to daylight can save more on electricity.

A plant or a view of nature can improve work

Looking at trees or a park has been proven to make staff healthier, less frustrated, more patient and more focused on work. Indoor plants help make people more efficient and better able to concentrate. If you don’t have a view or a plant, pictures of nature can help to ease stress and promote productivity.

Open offices lead to collaboration

As much as a lot of people don’t like open floor plans in office planning /spacing, it is true that it can lead to better collaboration. Studies show that flexible working helps employees feel more satisfied with their jobs because they feel more in control and more loyal to an employer.

The same report suggest that most companies seem to ignore office design optimization. They don’t realize that small changes can mean big financial returns for companies.

Additionally, a recent pilot study for Bank of America showed the remarkable impact on productivity that occurs in organizations that have strong informal social networks.

In conclusion, greener office designs can make employees happier and more productive, reducing employee turnovers and absenteeism. This new report lays out all of the research on the subject from over 150 different studies.

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