Places People Prefer

The Office
Agenda

The Office Agenda brings together our extensive insight into what makes an office that people – from employees to the board – prefer.

Places People Prefer

The Office
Agenda

Wellbeing

Something in the air

Air quality is one of the most important factors that affect how office workers feel - and it can have a direct effect on their productivity

Productivity improvements of 8-11% are not uncommon as a result of better air quality in offices, according to Sarah Welton, Vice-President of the International WELL Building Institute*.

Speaking at the recent Workplace Trends conference, Welton explained that, according to World Green Building Council and Environmental Protection Agency research, concentrations of some pollutant indicators can be two to five times higher indoors compared with outdoors. Factors that can affect air quality in offices include inadequate ventilation, microbial contamination and contamination from the fabric of the building.

Weldon told delegates: “We’ve forgotten that we primarily construct buildings to protect and support our health,” and added that social and physical environment is the single largest determinant of health – more significant than factors such as genetics, medical care and lifestyle.

The increasing importance of employee wellbeing was reflected in the results of British Land’s recent survey of 1,063 office workers in London on the theme of smart offices. When asked which factors they would prioritise when considering a new office, 94% of decision-makers said that a building management system that monitored the environment and automatically adjusted light, heat and air quality would be important – the second-highest percentage from a list of 15 factors.

Social and physical environment is the single largest determinant of health

“Internal air quality is one of the most fundamental factors that affects how we feel when we’re at work, along with levels of light, heat and noise,” comments Matt Webster, Head of Wellbeing and Futureproofing at British Land. “There’s a growing body of research that shows that, when buildings are designed with employees’ wellbeing in mind, those employees thrive and are more productive as a result. At present, there is limited industry guidance on how to monitor internal air quality, so we are exploring this with industry bodies and will be piloting measurement methods as part of a broader study of ‘smart’ building technologies at British Land’s HQ later in the year.”


*Introduced in 2014, the WELL
Building standard certification is based on creating improvements for employees in buildings in the areas of air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. British Land is targeting WELL certification for the redevelopment of 100 Liverpool Street, which began in January and is scheduled for completion in December 2019.

Tagged in: AIR QUALITY, HEALTH, OFFICE, PRODUCTIVITY, WELLBEING

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