The type of design and specification undertaken for buildings, living environments and the products used within them can substantially impact worker productivity. Even relatively small changes can significantly influence financial returns.
Staff expenses, including wages and benefits, usually account for around 90% of business operational costs.
The monetary value of productivity improvements can have far greater impact than similar levels of change in energy or rental outlays.
Examples of factors* influencing productivity (partial listing):
Absenteeism: This can be caused by reduced health and wellbeing and is one of the top causes of lost productivity.
Air quality: Enhanced air quality can lead to an increase in productivity of 8-11%. Of greatest importance is improving air quality in workplaces and other places where individuals spend prolonged periods of time.
Building layout: The level of creative diversity provided in the design and layout of workspaces and social spaces can greatly affect staff productivity. As can equipment zoning and specification.
Colour schemes: The use of specific colours within room layouts can boost different types of performance. Some colours are good for promoting attention to detail. Others are good for enhancing creativity.
Light: Optimised lighting exposures can improve productivity by 3%-8%. (They can also substantially improve sales, sometimes by up to 40%).
Noise: Acoustic pollution from disruptive talking, telephone usage and additional equipment operated in offices, is often the greatest single contributor to reduced productivity.
Thermal quality: Optimising thermal comfort in the workplace can lead to improvements in work performance of between 4-10%.
Technology: Adopting the use of more biologically friendly technologies can reduce stress, improve work performance and aid memory function.
Views: Access to nature is beneficial. Pleasant views from windows can increase worker productivity by 7-15%.
*The levels of improvement achievable vary between individual projects, so figures given are not always replicable and/or can even be exceeded.
Design and specification factors that can influence the ability of staff to be productive should be key concerns of any firm wishing to increase its profitability.