When you think about your company’s commitment to wellness, you probably don’t think about your physical office. But it actually plays a significant role in your overall health and well-being. And no, having the corner office or a bigger desk has nothing to do with it.
The American Public Health Association acknowledges that indoor environmental quality in office buildings can negatively affect occupants’ physical health, particularly those with conditions like asthma and respiratory diseases, who, as a result, are absent more often. Recent studies have shown that improved ventilation can increase workers’ productivity by 11 percent and improved lighting design can result in 23 percent productivity gains.
When you consider these findings with the fact that 85 percent of a company’s costs are human costs (i.e. salary, benefits), you better believe your boss will figure out what she can do to improve your working space if it means it will keep you healthy and focused on your job. At least she should be. If not, the work the World Green Building Council is doing, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (which counts CK client UTC Building & Industrial Systems as a member) may help change her mind.
The Council has set out to study the impacts of green buildings on workers' health and productivity, with the goal to identify metrics that accurately measure the outcomes and attach financial value to them. The aim is to support investment in greener buildings. Healthy buildings keep employees healthy – and in turn keep the business healthy.
An earlier initiative the Council launched that significantly advanced the green building movement was the development of the LEED rating system. Now with 21,000 LEED-certified buildings nationwide, it has becomes the gold standard for new construction. CK client TD Bank is an example of a business that has made green building practices a priority, opening numerous LEED-certified stores including a Net Zero branch in Florida.
By next year, an estimate of 48 percent of new nonresidential construction will be green. So, we’ll definitely continue to see our offices transform. Who knows, maybe we’ll even start seeing healthy buildings included as a benefit in corporate wellness programs, too.