Monthly Archives: October 2017

Psychology of a green workplace

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Floods, wildfires, famines, droughts, species extinction: climate-change-induced disasters are inflicting a heavy toll not only on the environment but also on our mental health, according to a recent report released by the American Psychological Association (APA) entitled “Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance.”

The APA’s report concludes that direct experience with a natural disaster, such as loss of property or personal physical harm, can have immediate and acute consequences on our mental health, including trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression. After Hurricane Katrina, for example, studies found that suicide and suicidal ideation more than doubled in people living in areas affected by the hurricane, and one in six met the criteria for PTSD. Psychologists are calling this type of mental illness ‘ecoanxiety.’

There are also significant long-term effects on mental health. The “unrelenting day-to-day despair” can erode mental health causing chronic psychological consequences. “Gradual, long-term changes in climate can also surface a number of different emotions, including fear, anger, feelings of powerlessness, or exhaustion,” the APA writes. Ecoanxiety can also impact our physical health. Research has shown that chronic stress can lower one’s immune system, causing one to be susceptible to illness and disease.

Although dealing successfully with mental health issues in the workplace is largely dependent on having a positive internal corporate culture, good people management, and wellness programs for employees — there is also a role for corporate real estate professionals. … Read More

Enhancing employee comfort with the flip of a light switch

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For workplaces that value employee productivity and comfort, color-tunable lighting represents a new frontier. With the ability to cool or warm the light temperature of a room, tunable lighting can wake up or calm down employees, adjust to the time of day and adapt for an after-hours event.

Although nearly all modern workplaces house employees who spend the majority of their days at their computers, most office spaces’ lighting systems were designed for tasks involving paper.

As Simone Skopek and Bob Best of JLL’s Energy and Sustainability Services (ESS) explain in their new book “SMART Green + Productive Workplace,” poor lighting can have a tremendous negative impact on employee productivity. Paper-based tasks require more intense lighting than work done on a computer, and the harsh lighting can cause reflection and glare.… Read More

Coffee: the must-have office perk

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If there is one perk that employees really appreciate it’s free, or even subsidized, coffee. The fact that many workers spend $1,000 or more a year on coffee suggests that the motivation to drink coffee must be very strong. Providing employees with access to coffee in the office — either free or for a modest price — is an easy and inexpensive way to make them feel valued and appreciated. A survey by Green Mountain Coffee found that 37 percent of employees would prefer free or subsidized coffee over an annual office party.

Coffee is a simple pleasure that many people depend on, and which improves productivity. A survey of U.S. workers and their coffee habits conducted by Alterra Coffee Roasters found that:

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Enhancing the human experience: algorithms to drive individual workplace comfort

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When it comes to workplace comfort, researchers at Purdue University are proving the theory that one size doesn’t fit all.

An ongoing study at the Purdue University Center for High Performance Buildings (CHPB), in partnership with JLL, is looking at the effect of customizable indoor environment conditions on employee productivity and satisfaction and building energy consumption. The goal of the two-year project, “Development of self-tuned indoor environments,” is to use measures of individual preferences to come up with smart building technology solutions.

“Essentially we are developing algorithms that can learn occupant preferences accurately and efficiently,” said Associate Professor of Civil Engineering Panagiota Karava, one of the researchers on the project.

Founded in 2013, the CHPB has quickly emerged as a leader in the smart building innovation space. Supported by partnerships with industry leaders, the CHPB takes a multi-disciplinary approach to its research projects, by bringing in experts in mechanical, civil and electrical engineering, as well as specialists in psychology and human behavior.

JLL has partnered with the CHPB on 13 research projects, including this one. The study is collecting data from over 200 participants in private and open-plan offices in an on-campus building that is a living laboratory. Each private office is equipped with dimmable electric lights, motorized shades and a Variable Air Volume system. In one sub-study, sensors measured temperature, light levels and occupant actions as participants were asked to engage in a regular 8-hour workday and interact with the customizable control systems from their desks. … Read More