Going green is a hot topic at the moment, as more people are aware of the environment around them and the impact that their carbon footprint impacts on it. This is not just in our everyday lives, but in business, too. So, other than environmental benefits, how can a green office also improve productivity and boost a company’s bottom line?
A report released in October of this year by the World Green Building Council, entitled: ‘Building the Business Case: Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Green Offices‘, says that there is currently a global momentum behind healthy and green office design and operation. It also highlighted key statistics that demonstrated how having a green office can in fact, influence your bottom line.
With the fall in the cost of green technology and a huge backing for environmental causes around the world, ensuring that the planet has ultimate longevity is not just because we want to be fantastic people, but it can also be very clever when it comes to finances.
In the aforementioned report, backed by ARUP, Saint-Gobain, B+H Architects and Marks and Spencer, among others outlines eight features that can make a more healthy and green office, these include indoor air quality, thermal comfort, daylighting and lighting, and location and access to amenities. In fact, their research shows that a well-ventilated office can actually double cognitive ability of employees, whereas productivity could fall a good 6 per cent if the working space is too hot; 4% if too cold.
Other interesting numbers that came from this report were that in some research, there was a 66% fall in staff performance and concentration as a result of distracting noises. This backs up the fact that to create a healthy office, you must use materials that reduce noise, as well as providing quiet spaces to work.
In one particular report based on findings from a call centre, processing time from staff actually increased by 12% due to a view of nature from their seats. And Saint-Gobain’s North American headquarters call centre staff doubled their productivity after a move into a new building with a gym, outdoor views and spaces where they could work collaboratively.
With case studies from many of the companies we mentioned above, there was one particular case study that caught our eye. Skansa, one of the UK’s leading contractors, reported a £28,000 saving in 2015 in staff costs, and reduced the green payback period of an office move from 11 to 8 years by achieving 3.5 times fewer building-related sick days, alongside increased employee comfort and satisfaction.
Skansa achieved this by implementing the following health and wellbeing actions:
In another spotlight, this time with research being conducted by Google, they touch on biophilia and why it’s important for any office environment. Biophilia, according to Google is “humanity’s deep-seated affinity for nature. It explains why we feel restored after being in a park, invigorated by the seashore, captivated by crackling fires and crashing waves; why our capacity to be creative can be influenced by viewing scenes of nature.” Because of this very reason, Google regards biophilia as vital as any other factor, for three reasons:
With this in mind, Google derived some initial findings on the effects of biophilia in the workplace, with design elements in the building being inspired by, and that mimic nature, which they can view from their desks. This research brought back some amazing statistics, in that there was a 13% higher satisfaction with the colours and textures in the workplace, an 11% higher overall satisfaction with their workplace, and 15% more people said that their building sparks creativity.
After this eye-opening report, the World Green Building Council is now urging companies to asses environmental factors affecting health and wellbeing, to survey their employees about them, and to measure how they impact economic factors including productivity, absenteeism and medical costs.
Chief Executive of the World Green Building Council, Terri Wills said of their insightful report: “The results are clear, putting both health and wellbeing, and the environment, at the heart of buildings, is a no brainer for businesses’ employees and their bottom line.”
Earlier this year we wrote about how your business can reduce its carbon footprint, check it out for more information.
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