Way of Work:
the impact of green buildings
on professional performance
Would you rather work in a 5-by-5 meter cubicle, with harsh lighting, stale air-conditioning and plastic objects all around you, or in a spacious office, with gentle lighting and the tactile comfort of natural materials and leafy plants surrounding you?
Intuitively, we all sense which one of the two options are beneficial to us as human beings. So why do so many offices ignore this innate knowledge in favor of workplaces that deny our sensitivity to our environment?
The benefits of an enjoyable working space are twofold. On the one hand, working in a pleasant physical environment inspires employees to do well, on the other hand, it greatly enhances cognitive function.
In terms of strategy, information usage, task orientation, breadth of approach, information seeking and other research points, a recent study from Harvard has found that cognitive function overall increases with 97-131%, depending on how green the environment is.
Better environments lead to better thinking – and the quality of the environment is closely linked with the presence of plants. Says Dr. Joseph Allen:
“This study suggests that indoor environments can have a profound impact on the decision-making performance of workers, which is a primary indicator of worker productivity. These results are provocative for three reasons. First, they suggest that the levels of carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds that we commonly encounter in conventional office buildings are associated with decreases in worker performance compared to when those same workers are in green building environments. Second, when we enhance ventilation and optimize indoor environmental conditions, we see improvements in the cognitive function of workers. And third, these results fill important knowledge gaps in existing research about the relationship between green buildings and occupant health.”
Interestingly, there’s a positive side-effect to this already overwhelmingly positive result. The occupants of these green buildings experienced a higher well-being not only when at work, but also when they came home from work.
Their life-quality in general increased, which in turn resulted in 30% fewer sickness-related absences and a 6% rise in sleep quality.
So, it’s possible to “improve the health of all people, in all buildings, everywhere, everyday”, say the Harvard researchers. To achieve this, they advocate for what they call ‘buildingnomics’: an approach that takes an ergonomic approach to buildings.
Human health, well-being and productivity are all interlinked. There’s scientific data to prove it.
At Fosbury & Sons, that message has hit home. Greenery is a big part of our interiors – courtesy of Going East – and our members’ well-being benefits from this, as well as from the home comforts we provide.
Healthy food and great coffee, soft lighting and tactile textures in our furniture: all of these elements contribute to our 360-degree approach to work as a part of the good life.