Five steps to productivity heaven

Five steps to productivity heaven

Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) and its effect on wellbeing and productivity

 Five steps to productivity heaven

For the last three years we have researched how Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) affects worker productivity, absenteeism and staff turnover.

The evidence is clear that temperature, humidity, light, space, noise, CO2 and VOCs (among other factors) have a huge effect on people’s motivation, cognitive capability, productivity and wellbeing.

Many studies show us what the optimal levels are. For instance, The World Green Building Council’s Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices report quantifies the effect of light, ventilation and outdoor views on productivity, finding that staff experience:

  • a 23% increase in productivity from better lighting
  • an 11% increase in productivity from better ventilation
  • a 10 to 25% improvement in mental functioning when they have views to outside.

When we applied these metrics to UK workplaces, we found a profusion of office environments that fell well short of optimum levels for human performance.

Five steps to productivity heaven

Armed with this evidence, we created a straightforward five step process that enables companies to measure and improve the working environment for their people.

It should also help teams traditionally driven by cost, to expand their focus into raising performance and standards. For estates teams already working with a performance focus, it will help align activity to the wider business goals and increase recognition and reputation for your contribution.

Step 1: Engage stakeholders

Meet with representatives from finance, IT and senior management to set out the benefits, then plan and agree the approach.

Talk with your stakeholders to build your understanding of the key drivers of productivity within your business. This will help you to engage appropriately with the relevant internal stakeholders and get their support when you come back to them with proposed measures.

Step 2: Collect data

Collect data to provide insight into your building performance including indoor environmental quality, usage profiles and feedback from staff and management.

The quality of data collected underpins the building performance approach and will have a strong bearing on the quality of subsequent outcomes. By making full use of existing data where possible, you will minimise additional information and work required. You will need information on:

1.  People – insights from building users

2.  Place – performance of the building

3.  Performance – measures of the company performance against agreed metrics

Step 3: Analyse and Plan

Compare your results to industry standards, identify performance opportunities and biggest wins, and develop a performance strategy.

The previous step has the potential to generate a lot of data, and the first challenge is to make sense of it all. The following approach will help you do this:

1.  Undertake a high-level review of the data collected to check the quality of the information and get an idea of what areas are likely to be of most value – for example, anything that is very different to what you would expect to see.

2. Analyse in more detail areas that look to be poor performers. For example, if a particular indoor environmental quality metric is much higher or lower than expected analyse the data for patterns and confirm the data is accurate.

3. Focus on the big issues which are impacting your workplace. What is likely to improve your internal environmental quality?

Step  4: Run Projects

Deliver projects, engage with staff and communicate with your stakeholders.

Once you are ready to deliver the projects you planned, your choice of running the projects concurrently or phased is likely to be influenced by a number of external factors. We recommend splitting projects into:

1.  Quick wins – low or no cost. For example, BMS tweaks or simple improvements to indoor environmental conditions.

2. Short term, medium cost – projects with a clear return on investment that will be easy to get approval for and will show immediate improvements to building performance and staff productivity.

3. Longer term projects – larger capital investment projects such as changes to plant and services.

Step 5: Monitor, Evaluate and Improve

Monitor and validate new projects, continue live data analysis of building performance, and initiate continuous improvement cycle.

If you’d like us to send you a copy of our ultimate guide when it’s published, please drop an email to [email protected] with your contact details.

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