Archive for the ‘Certifications’ Category

Green Workplaces, Productive Employees

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Are you thinking about an office renovation? Looking to spruce up the workplace?  If so, you’ve probably toyed with the idea of introducing green elements into the new design of your office.  Many people consider the idea, then dismiss it, wondering if it’s really worth the extra research and potential cost.  Turns out, it may pay off to devote a little extra time or money on going green.  As studies are showing, green offices lead to more productive employees.

In a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, it was reported that in a building with natural lighting where and when
available, natural ventilation to supplement air conditioning, and improved air quality, employees had, on average, an additional 39
hours of productivity a year.

To break this 39 hours statistic down, here are a few observations from the study:  Allergy sufferers reported that the hours they spent affected per month by environmental allergies decreased by more than half.  Employees reported the number of hours they felt stressed or depressed decreased by a little under a third every month.  Decreasing hours lost to allergies and poor mental health led to less days lost to absenteeism and illness.

Some opinions argue that these statistics are simply due to a placebo affect, that employees feel better about their health and going to work when they believe that their employer is looking out for their well being.  Regardless, the productivity hours speak for themselves. When employees are in a green workplace, they are happier and healthier.

Wondering how to most increase productivity with green changes in your workplace?

Use natural light wherever and whenever possible.  Seat employees near windows and keep those blinds open.  Turn off the interior lights when it is possible to work by natural light. When it is absolutely necessary to use office lighting, use energy star approved lighting. Knowing that their lighting is having a positive impact on the environment will improve employee morale.

Improve ventilation and air quality.  Use fans, open windows, and use the vent setting on air conditioning units.  While it may seem
counter-intuitive to let outdoor air in on the way to improving allergies and health, it actually has proven beneficial for employees.
By filtering the stale office air out, dust allergies are greatly reduced.

While the positive effects on the environment should be enough reason to go green anywhere, the improved productivity in the workplace is surely an added incentive.  The best part about going green in the office is that you can completely overhaul your office with low VOC paints, sustainable furniture, and carpets free of chemicals, or you do something as simple as letting light and air in.  Just knowing that you care about the environment and about your employees will make your office a happier, healthier place to work.