In September the World Green Building Council released its Health, Wellbeing & Productivity in Offices Report. Dr Vyt Garnys of CETEC was a member of the Technical Committee which was charged with providing expertise for this report.
The report follows on from the research that CETEC has been doing relating to IEQ and productivity over the last 15 years. This includes a number of case studies undertaken for clients and our regular involvement within the International Society for Indoor Air Quality and Climate (ISIAQ). It also follows the first IEQ and Productivity masterclass held in Australia back in Brisbane in 2012 featuring Dr Vyt Garnys and Associate Professor Pawel Wargocki. Both are sure to be discussing this key area of research with international colleagues at the next ISIAQ meeting; at Healthy Buildings 2015 in Eindhoven.
The WGBC report received widespread attention across the property and construction industry and was also promoted by a number of important organisations. The time for IEQ has come!
We have included below the published highlights of this report.
Findings of the report include:
Indoor air quality: A comprehensive body of research suggests that better indoor air quality (low concentrations of CO2 and pollutants and high ventilation rates) can lead to productivity improvements of 8-11%.
Thermal comfort: Research demonstrates that thermal comfort has a significant impact on workplace satisfaction and modest degrees of personal control over thermal comfort can return single digit improvements in productivity.
Lighting and views of nature: Several studies have estimated productivity gains as a result of proximity to windows, with experts now thinking that views from windows are probably the more significant factor, particularly where the view offers a connection to nature.
Noise and acoustics: Research suggests that being productive in the modern knowledge-based office is practically impossible when noise provides an unwanted distraction. This can be a major cause of dissatisfaction amongst occupants.
Interior layout: The way the interior of an office is configured (including workstation density and configuration of work space, breakout space and social space) has been found to have an impact on concentration, collaboration, confidentiality and creativity.
Active design and exercise: Health can be improved through exercise, and so active design within a building, and access to services and amenities such as gyms, bicycle storage and green space can help to encourage healthier lifestyles of building occupants.
Toolkit to measure health, wellbeing and productivity:
Financial metrics: Absenteeism, staff turnover, revenue breakdown (by department or per building), medical costs and complaints, and physical complaints.
Perceptual metrics: Studies which test a range of self-reported attitudes into health, wellbeing and productivity in the workplace can contain a wealth of information for improving office performance.
Physical metrics: Direct measures of the physical office environment, such as temperature, are key to measuring the effect on the health, wellbeing and productivity of workers. Exciting developments in this area such as portable and wearable technology are likely to substantially expand our understanding.