Elements of Office Design: Report Reveals Impacts on Staff Health and Productivity

How do you keep your employees happy, healthy and hard at work? While benefits and perks may be a step in the right direction, your office environment might actually play a bigger role than you think.

Research from the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) reveals that office design not only has a positive impact on staff productivity and satisfaction, but also on employees’ overall health.

With the help of data from multiple studies, the WorldGBC report outlines several key aspects of office environments – often found in “green” or sustainable buildings – that contribute to an increase in employees’ efficiency and health. Here is a summary of the findings:

Get Cozy

Thermal comfort can have a positive impact on workplace satisfaction, especially if employees have the option to control the office temperature. In fact, according to the report, overall productivity can increase up to 3 percent as a result of personal control of workspace temperature. But what’s the perfect temperature? The report finds that performance is reduced by 4 percent in temperatures below 69-71 degrees and by 6 percent in temperatures above that range.

Clear the Air

Closely related to comfort, the report revealed that buildings with improved ventilation systems and lower pollutant levels lead to productivity improvements of 8 to 11 percent, whereas high CO2 levels in the air can cause fatigue and negatively impact decision-making skills.

Turn Up the Light

Beyond a comfortable and clean workspace, consider how lighting can affect employee performance and mood. Poor lighting can lead to visual discomfort, causing headaches and eyestrain, but natural light and proximity to windows can increase productivity. Outdoor views that provide a connection to nature are particularly significant, as natural lighting can even improve employee health. The report also states that office workers who are near windows tend to sleep an average of 46 more minutes per night. 


Turn Down the Volume

Not surprisingly, the report found that another way to improve productivity is to design your office in a way that will reduce noise levels. Employees who were exposed to distracting noise experienced a 66 percent drop in work performance. And with the recent popularity of open workspace layouts, it’s essential to provide secluded nooks and roomy meeting spaces where employees can escape to focus.

Get Fit

Beyond increasing in-office productivity, you should also consider promoting an active and healthy lifestyle among employees. The report explained how providing added amenities such as fitness rooms and bicycle storage can encourage wellness and good health – two factors that contribute to increased performance and overall happiness.

While increasingly more businesses are updating office layouts with efficiency in mind, only recently has there been an abundance of quantifiable evidence linking office design innovations with job performance and employee well-being. To learn more about how office environments can positively impact employee health and productivity, please visit WorldGBC.org to download the full report.