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11% increase in productivity as a result of increased fresh air and reduced pollutants.
Source: World Green Building Council
Temperature & air quality matter 4X more to employees than having gym facilities on site.
Source: Future Workplace Wellness Study
Only 33% of employees say the temperature in their office is ideal for them.
Source: Future Workplace Wellness Study
An optimal working environment supports an optimal workflow — or productivity. Let’s take a look at air quality, for instance. The research proving a link between office air quality and cognitive functioning is overwhelming. A recent study finds that cognitive scores are 61% higher in offices with fresh, well-circulated air. Thermal comfort also unlocks this productivity benefit. When the office temperature is raised to the ideal range, accuracy can be expected to improve by 44%. While output can be expected to increase by an incredible 150%. People overwhelming self-report that the temperature in their workspace affects their ability to concentrate.
The link between environmental and physical comfort is strong across numerous elements. Consider that optimizing the office lighting (an environmental component of work ergonomics) is shown to improve morale but will also reduce eye fatigue (a physical benefit). Or that removing odors in the air (an environmental component) contributes to a stronger sense of well-being but also prevents nausea and other ultimately physical ailments caused by indoor air pollutants.
High-quality air is key to health and well-being in the workplace. For those who suffer from allergies, asthma, and other illnesses, the air at work is essentially the ‘tonic’ or the ‘toxic’ they are inhaling each day. For this reason, taking proper measures to clean and circulate the office air protects all employee health. It’s valuable to note that poor indoor air quality is also the primary cause of Sick Building Syndrome; conversely, investing in the air quality is a long-term investment in the health of the workforce.
Workers that are healthy — physically, mentally, and emotionally — take less sick days. In fact, employees in offices with better daylight take an average of 6.5% fewer sick days than those in offices with a poor quality of light.
Though one can certainly testify from their own experience, leading research proves a strong connection between job performance and well-being at work. When our office environment is free of environmental stressors (uncomfortable temperature, noisy space, odor-filled air…), we are more motivated, more energized, and more focused. These benefits indirectly improve our sense of well-being.
Look at it from a practical standpoint. Employees with ergonomic equipment, fresh air, and the ideal temperature range perform at their best. They can more easily unplug at the end of the day’s work. And unplugging is critical for avoiding burnout. Here we see how productivity, work satisfaction, and mental health feed into one another naturally.
The office environment can stimulate or stymie creativity. Research published in Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries highlights the importance of designing the office to support creativity. How, exactly? Through biophilic design, ideal lighting conditions, and thoughtfully-chosen colors, for instance. This, to catalyze your team’s creative potential.
Employees with control over the environment of their workspace have control over the factors that directly affect their ability to concentrate, find comfort at the desk, and produce at their highest level. This agency enhances morale. Moreover, people with the agency over their working environment are less likely to experience workplace burnout.
Improving the office space’s lighting not only benefits mental health and well-being but prevents Computer Vision Syndrome: a catch-all phrase used to describe eye-related injuries caused by prolonged computer use. Using protective tools such as privacy screens can also aid in this arena by reducing glare and blocking computer blue light. Otherwise, excessive blue light can inhibit melatonin production. Consequently, privacy screens contribute to a greater quality of sleep, helping prevent burnout.
As we broaden our focus on office ergonomics to include the quality of the working environment, it’s important to take preferences into consideration. We all have a different idea of what the ideal workstation looks and feels like. That’s why our team considers it critical to give employees total control over the environmental aspects of their personal workspace. And equipment such as desktop space heaters and air purifiers are an economical way to afford this control. If your aim is to improve the comfort, productivity, health, and well-being of each member of your team, giving them the tools they need to achieve personal comfort at their desk is a surefire way to reach it.