A new report from the World Green Building Council has found overwhelming evidence demonstrating that the design of an office significantly affects the health, wellbeing and productivity of its staff.
The report, co-sponsored by Skanska, finds that building design features such as air quality, lighting, views of nature and interior layout can affect the health, satisfaction and job performance of office workers.
“As we see more evidence that high-performing building design enhances the wellbeing and productivity of building inhabitants, the business case for greener, healthier buildings is dramatically strengthened,” said Elizabeth Heider, Chief Sustainability Officer at Skanska USA. “A modest improvement in health and productivity can easily surpass even the most spectacular energy savings in bottom line benefits, because personnel costs are such a high proportion of the cost of doing business.”
The result of an extensive collaboration this year involving more than 50 industry experts worldwide, the report, titled Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices: The Next Chapter for Green Building, suggests that design features which are commonly associated with green buildings can enable healthy and productive environments for their occupants. The report also acknowledges that low carbon buildings are not inherently healthier and more productive for occupants. Innovations in product technologies and renewables are needed, particularly to enable low carbon cooling in hot and humid climates.
The report includes a toolkit that businesses can use to evaluate the health, wellbeing and productivity of their staff and relate this back to the physical features of buildings. Measures include absenteeism, staff turnover, medical complaints and revenue – data which is already collected but not typically available on a building-by-building basis.
“The evidence linking good office design and improved health, wellbeing and productivity of staff is now overwhelming. There is unquestionably a clear business case for investing in, developing and occupying healthier, greener buildings,” said Jane Henley, CEO of the World Green Building Council. “This is something that office occupiers can demonstrate for themselves. Most businesses are already sitting on a treasure trove of information that may yield immediate improvement strategies for their two biggest expenses – people and buildings. Understanding the relationship between the two can help businesses achieve significant competitive advantage.”
The report can be downloaded here.