Optimize your office environment for efficiency and employee health

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a A healthy workforce increases productivity and contributes to organizational growth. Previous research has shown that the work environment has a significant impact on work efficiency and worker health. However, the exact economic benefits of maintaining an optimal built environment in the workplace are still unclear.

In a new study, Japanese researchers have quantified the economic benefits associated with various elements of the office environment. Their findings highlight the importance of developing healthier and more comfortable office spaces to improve productivity.

How does the office environment affect workers?

Previous research has investigated how indoor environmental quality (IEQ), which includes factors such as temperature, air quality, lighting, and noise, impacts work efficiency and worker health. However, these studies do not tend to focus on work efficiency and worker health simultaneously, nor do they quantify the economic benefits of optimizing the office environment.

In a recent study published in the journal buildings and environment, Japanese researchers investigated how elements of the office environment affect work efficiency and worker health, while also analyzing the economic benefits of optimizing these elements. did. They surveyed 1,644 employees in 29 office buildings in Tokyo, collecting data on the built environment through employee surveys and physical IEQ measurements. We then compare the perceived work efficiency in the office (as reported by employees) to the work efficiency of an “ideal” office with maximum work efficiency to assess the economic value provided by the built environment. estimated.

The researchers also examined the extent of “presenteeism” (working while sick) and compared it to a scenario in which workers did not face health-related barriers to work. This research was led by Professor Shun Kawakubo of Hosei University’s Faculty of Engineering, with participation from colleagues Shiro Arata and Masaki Sugiuchi of Hosei University.

office environment
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The study found that participants perceived their work efficiency to be about 77% on average. Presenteeism varied, with some participants reporting no symptoms in the past 30 days and others experiencing symptoms every day. The average decrease in performance due to presenteeism was approximately 34%.

This study investigated the influence of overall office environment factors on perceived work efficiency and presenteeism. A positive overall office environment was associated with greater employee perceived work efficiency.

“Work efficiency was low in offices with low environmental performance, while work efficiency was high in offices with high environmental performance,” Kawakubo explains. “There is a 16.8 point difference in work efficiency between workers working in offices with relatively good and poor environments, which is equivalent to an annual economic benefit of approximately 1,039,000 yen.” [Japanese Yen; $6,908], emphasizes the economic benefits of a good working environment. ”

Similarly, we found that when the overall office environment improved, performance declines due to presenteeism decreased.

“The better the office environment, the less loss you will suffer from presenteeism,” Kawakubo points out. “The difference in annual economic losses due to presenteeism between employees in offices with relatively low environmental performance and employees in offices with relatively high environmental performance was 423,000 yen.” [$2,812]”

Importance of interior, cleanliness and air conditioning

The study found that the higher the quality of elements such as “interior and furnishings,” “general building hygiene,” “air flow from HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning),” and “meeting spaces,” the better the experience. It was also revealed that the work efficiency was high.

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Factors such as “disasters and emergencies”, “thermal environment”, “lightning environment”, and “communications network” were associated with lower economic losses due to presenteeism. The estimated economic benefits associated with perceived work efficiency were greater than those associated with presenteeism.

The study concludes that offices have the potential to increase economic returns, and there is a global need to develop high-quality offices to improve employee efficiency and employee health. I am emphasizing that.

“Today, companies around the world are reaffirming the importance of human capital,” Kawakubo concluded. “We believe that widespread recognition of the fact that investing in creating a good office environment will directly lead to maintaining and improving the health of office workers and improving the productivity of the company as a whole will contribute to creating a healthier office environment. “society. “

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