What is Buildingomics?
We spend about 90 percent of our lives indoors.
Let that sink in—ninety percent.
And about one-third of that is spent at an office. All of those hours inside at work have an effect on our health and well-being. A recent study out of Harvard has found a connection between the productivity of workers and the quality of their office indoor environments. No big surprise, but the investments pay off.
This new approach, coined “buildingomics,” examines the totality of factors in the building-related environment that influence human health, well-being, and productivity of people who work in buildings.
The study revealed that when we work in green-certified offices, we get a 26% boost in cognition, and have 30% fewer sick days. The top cognitive functions that saw improvement were strategizing, crisis response, focus, and task orientation.
The effects reach beyond the workday as well. Participants in the study also reported a 6% increase in their sleep quality. Which in turn, positively influenced their productivity the next day. The start of a positive cycle.
So how can our offices be more green? Several factors contribute, but a few are significant. Natural lighting. Comfortable temperature. Indoor air quality. Actual greenery—plants. A University of Exeter study found that employees were 15% more productive when working in a plant-friendly office.
Mark Conway, head of workplace environments at the facilities management company, Active, highlights the practical benefits of these findings:
“In a marketplace where costs are key and mistakes cost money, this sort of increase cannot be ignored. Better strategic thinking and usage of information must lead to improved and more effective performance, less mistakes and down time.”
The next step according to Tim Oldman of Leesman, the workplace effectiveness experts, is to humanize the workplace by incorporating biophilic design, bringing elements of the outdoors indoors.
Although you can’t please everyone in an office environment, these studies have uncovered some interesting factors that can greatly improve the workplace. What do you think, is buildingomics compelling enough to incorporate in our offices?