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Green Buildings Support Employee Wellbeing and Productivity

According to Jones Lang LaSalle Global Sustainability Perspective


London, 19th July 2011 - According to research conducted by Jones Lang LaSalle, a workplace with good air quality, comfortable temperature, natural light and other features associated with green buildings, is likely to result in a more productive workforce.

In Jones Lang LaSalle’s Global Sustainability Perspective previous studies around the connection between green buildings and employee productivity were analysed. Although the impact of green features on productivity is difficult to quantify, an examination of existing data shows a clear correlation between a comfortable and healthy workplace and occupant wellbeing, which translates into lower absenteeism and greater productivity.

 “When business people put forward a financial case for green buildings, they often focus on energy efficiency because the cost and benefit are easily measured. But the opportunity to increase employee productivity even by a few percentage points is a much greater financial plus, even if the benefit can not be precisely quantified,” Julie Hirigoyen, Head of Energy and Sustainability Services at Jones Lang LaSalle. “Companies recognise that a comfortable environment that promotes good health allows their employees to produce better results.”

In Global Sustainability Perspective, Jones Lang LaSalle recommends a range of strategies for building managers and corporations to create office environments that promote the wellbeing and health of their occupants:
 
Indoor air quality
• Allow individual control of indoor air quality levels and ventilation
• Avoid placing printers and copiers near work stations to minimise toner dust pollution
• Use chemical-free cleaning supplies
• Install low emission wall and floor coverings
• Provide air quality monitoring
 
Lighting
• Provide workers with effective controls such as task lighting, blinds and shades to reduce solar glare
• Design space layouts to maximize penetration of natural light into work spaces
• Avoid glare on computer screens from lighting and from office windows
 
Thermal comfort
• Give workers individual control over workstation temperature, if possible
• Periodically monitor temperature levels
• Access to outside views and external space
• Design open-plan workplace layouts to maximize access to outside views
• Provide access for staff to external space for use as break out and collaboration space, where possible
 
Acoustics
• Monitor noise levels of printers and copiers
• Provide separate work areas to accommodate various noise levels, such as quiet areas, meeting rooms, and lounges
 
Ergonomics
• Educate employees on proper ergonomic practices
• Provide equipment that reduce musculoskeletal disorders
 
Shelley Frost, Director of Corporate Consulting at Jones Lang LaSalle, concluded: “It may be impossible to know exactly how a specific feature in a workplace will affect the productivity of workers in that space, but we do know that many strategies to make buildings more sustainable also enhance occupant wellbeing and promote health, and those factors lead to higher productivity.”