Private Business Intermediaries

How Office Design Can Boost Job Performance and Satisfaction

 
10/10/2014 | By Freedom Health Insurance
A new World Green Building Council (WGBC) report has found that there is “overwhelming evidence” that office design can significantly impact on the health, wellbeing and productivity of employees.

Air quality, lighting, views of nature and potted plants are only a few of the factors found to affect the health, satisfaction and job performance of office workers.

The benefits of good air quality, for example, have been known for some time and the World Green Building Council study states that increasing ventilation and reducing pollutants in the air could boost employee productivity by 8% to 11%.
The researchers also reveal that many office design measures can have dual benefits - for example increasing access to daylight can improve the health and productivity of office workers, but can also reduce energy use at the same time.

Most often with daylight, employees also get access to outside views. Long distance views have been shown to help reduce fatigue, headaches and the effects of eye strain in the long term, by allowing our eyes to adjust and re-focus, away from computer screens or written documents. What we see outside can further affect health and wellbeing. According to the WGBC report, there is clear evidence that nature both inside and outside the office can help lower stress, improve cognitive function and enhance creativity.

While some measures are harder to implement than others, something often very easy to control, such as temperature, can have a big impact on productivity. Research mentioned in this report shows that employee performance is reduced by 10% in an environment at either 30⁰C or 15⁰C compared to a baseline between 21⁰C and 23⁰C. Having individual control over your office temperature was found to improve performance further, alongside general work satisfaction and mood.

With 90% of typical operating costs taken by staff salaries and benefits (according to the WGBC report) it makes financial sense for companies to find out what steps they need to take to increase their employees’ productivity, health and wellbeing. What may appear a modest improvement in employee health or productivity can have a significant financial implication for employers.

References:
World Green Building Council, 2014. Health, Wellbeing & Productivity in Offices [pdf], London, 24th September, 2014. Available at: http://www.worldgbc.org/files/6314/1152/0821/WorldGBC__Health_Wellbeing__productivity_Full_Report.pdf