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Green offices a “no brainer” for businesses

Research shows that greener office spaces can improve productivity and the bottom line, and the World Green Building Council has developed a simple framework to help companies take action.

Research shows that greener office spaces can improve productivity and the bottom line, and the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has developed a simple framework to help companies take action.

The WorldGBC report highlights the business case for employers, building owners, designers and developers to invest in greener, healthier office spaces.

According to the report, simple steps such as improving air quality, increasing natural light and introducing greenery can have a dramatic impact on the bottom line by improving employee productivity, reducing absenteeism and cutting energy costs.

Business case

For example, the report shows that staff working in offices where natural light is maximised get more sleep at night, while cognitive ability can be doubled through good ventilation.

Effective temperature control also has a huge role to play, with research showing that staff performance can fall by six per cent when it is too hot, and by four per cent when it is too cold. 

Fifteen buildings are showcased as best practice examples, including a UK office for construction firm, Skanska, which saved £28,000 in annual staff costs and cut sick days by two thirds by making improvements to layout, noise, air quality and lighting. 

Key areas

The report identifies eight key areas for businesses to take action:

  • Indoor air quality and ventilation
  • Thermal Comfort
  • Daylighting and lighting
  • Noise and acoustics
  • Interior layout and flexible design
  • Views and connection to nature
  • Visual appeal
  • Location and access to amenities

Companies of all sizes are being urged to survey their employees to find out how they experience the buildings they work in and assess the potential economic factors that green design could influence. 

‘No brainer’

Terri Wills, chief executive at the WorldGBC, said: “This report breaks new ground by demonstrating tangible action businesses are taking to improve their workspaces. 

“The results are clear - putting both health and wellbeing, and the environment, at the heart of buildings is a no brainer for businesses’ employees and the bottom line.”

Beth Ambrose, chair of the WorldGBC’s Offices Working Group, added that companies “both large and small” were “redesigning their offices, changing working practices and trialling new technologies”.