When it comes to making key office space planning decisions, the need for a workplace to be healthy and ‘green’ is often an important factor. However, in truth, this is a relatively recent development, which has emerged in the past few decades.
With that being said, it is important to understand that over that same time period, a great deal of research has shown the huge benefits associated with making an office greener. As a result, the move towards more natural, healthy, sustainable spaces is no longer just a trend; it is a necessity if you want to keep up with the competition.
Improved Workplace Performance
One of the top reasons why being green is becoming an office space planning priority is because it directly benefits those working in the space itself.
In a study published by the University of Exeter in 2014, it was found that green offices, with natural elements like plants, resulted in higher levels of workplace satisfaction, produced superior concentration and led to greater engagement with work. The addition of plants alone was found to improve productivity by as much as 15 percent!
This tallies with research carried out by the World Green Building Council, which found that employees working in well-ventilated offices, with biophilic elements and access to natural light, benefited from a 101 percent increase in cognitive scores. Ventilation alone accounted for a six percent improvement to overall staff performance.
Greener Offices and Well-Being
Another important reason why businesses are increasingly seeing green offices as a necessity is because they can improve the health and well-being of their workforce. This, in turn, can reduce the amount of time lost to absenteeism, cut staff turnover and help to save money lost on other health-related matters.
One of the key findings of the Human Spaces Global Report was that employees working in office environments with natural elements, like plants and sunlight, report well-being levels that are 15 percent higher than those who work in environments that are dominated by nature-less or man-made elements instead.
The report also found that one of the organizational outcomes resulting from greener office space was that workplaces became more attractive to new recruits as well.
Customers and Social Consciousness
In addition to green initiatives enhancing workplace performance and improving morale and well-being, green credentials can also provide a competitive advantage when it comes to customer satisfaction. For this reason, a commitment to sustainability and environmental friendliness is now a key part of reputation management.
In a report from Nielsen, published in 2015, it was found that 66 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from sustainable brands. Moreover, sales from sustainable brands are out-pacing sales from non-sustainable companies.
By working with office fit out specialists to create a greener, more sustainable workplace, and publicizing their efforts, businesses can demonstrate social consciousness. This can then improve their reputation with customers and encourage both new and existing ones to spend more money on products or services.
By Reno Macri
Reno is a founder and director of Enigma Visual Solutions, one of the leading office interior design companies in London. It specilises in commercial interior design, office space planning, office branding and much more. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends. Feel free to follow him on twitter.