This month’s Sustainability Session here at JLL was quite informative and inspiring. ESS Operations Manager, Simone Skopek shared great overview about productivity and how it relates to greening the workplace. The take-away is that greening the workplace should also include a review of employee health, comfort and well-being.
Research has shown that not all green offices increase productivity. For example, efforts to reduce the space that needs to heated, cooled and lit can save energy but can result in over-crowding or poor acoustics. This means that green building measures need to be balanced with productivity issues.
A smart approach is to look holistically at the office environment and the outcomes desired and implement a good balance of measures that address both productivity and sustainability.
One aspect that stood out to me was her review of acoustics. Acoustics in an environment usually stand out only when they are very bad or very good for the task at hand. Noise pollution is a phrase not everyone is familiar with, but as our world becomes increasingly populated and urbanized, you’ll be hearing more about this (pun intended). Simone shared studies that show conservative productivity improvements of 6% or more from various studies on improved acoustics. When you reduce distracting noise, this improves quality of work output in terms of accuracy, concentration, memory tasks and other factors that relate to productivity. While it’s not always possible to replicate the results of studies, nevertheless, even if a company can get just a 1% increase in productivity, the project is worth looking into.
The take-away is that organizations that wish to green their offices should also include a review of measures to improve employee wellness, thereby making their workplace not only green but also more productive.