The working environment
On average people spend 22% of their week at work – and just 30% of it sleeping. But only recently have workers been questioning and examining their working environment. Quality of life issues have become more topical and received more media coverage and staff and management alike are assessing the workplace and analysing what effects it can have on workers. Research clearly proves there is a link between environmental comfort and worker productivity. Over the past fifteen years, dozens of scientific studies on productivity in the workplace prove that individuals respond very differently to their environment. Dissatisfaction with indoor environmental conditions has been routinely documented in studies conducted in both North America and Europe.
The Indoor Air Environment
Two factors govern the quality of the indoor environment – temperature and relative humidity. Generally termed as ‘thermal comfort’ they combine with other factors such as air movement, radiant heat and ventilation to create the indoor environment. The difficulty with thermal comfort issues is that we all react differently to these factors. Age, sex and weight all affect the way we respond to our environment.
If thermal comfort is affecting staff wellbeing, there are knock-on effects for the business; productivity falls and absenteeism may rise. Managers and employees can measure productivity – it is easy see if a member of staff is completing less work and also to evaluate the standard of work being produced.
Many managers have already recognised that a better environment helps improve employee productivity. When the environment is carefully designed and controlled to meet the needs of employees, studies have reported productivity gains of 15% for managerial employees and 17% for clerical employees. According to some data, a 2.8% productivity gain is possible in an open-office setting when employees are given control over their environment.
Changing Your Working Environment
It makes sound business sense to provide staff with a comfortable, productive, complaint free work area. No matter the size of your business the costs associated with conducting an indoor air quality audit are a fraction of the lost productivity dollars. Changes, followed up by regular audits will ensure any problems are identified and solved before they become more costly issues. Airlab is a specialist in this field, our experts can provide a full range of audits and recommendations to make your working environment a better place to be.