A healthy office building: good for employees and employers
A lot of attention is being paid to the question of whether ventilation quality in buildings has an effect on the transmission of the Corona virus. Regardless of this, the indoor climate in buildings has direct consequences for employees. People spend 90% of their time in buildings, and a significant part of it in the office. In a groundbreaking study, a team from Maastricht University recently demonstrated the link between indoor climate quality and the health of office users. A healthier building leads to a healthier employee and lower absenteeism.
Relationship with labor productivity
Health is a basic condition for work productivity. Companies and other organizations face significant costs of absenteeism and non-productive presence of their employees. Recent research, published in the leading scientific journal PLOS ONE, analyzes the consequences of the indoor climate in the office for the health, well-being and job satisfaction of people who work there. The research uses a natural experiment in which 70% of the employees of the medium-sized Dutch municipality Venlo have moved from a conventional building to a building designed and built to the highest standards of sustainability and health. The other 30% of the employees did not move: the control group.
All these people participated four times in a survey about the quality of the indoor climate and their health: the first just before the move and the other three spread over the two years after the move. The results show significant improvement in the perception of the indoor climate, especially in terms of air quality, temperature and light for the group of employees in the healthy building. They also have 50% fewer symptoms of sick building syndrome, such as dry eyes, fatigue and headaches. The health improvement is greatest for older employees. The latest finding is of great importance to employers: employees in the healthy have a two percent lower absenteeism rate.
Antoin Scholten, Mayor of Venlo: “Our aim for the new municipal office was a circular, healthy building, in which visitors and employees feel healthy and productive. The collaboration with Maastricht University has shown that this has been successful.”
Read more about the new municipal office Venlo.
Moving to Productivity, PLOS ONE, 2020
Auteurs: Juan Palacios (MIT), Piet Eichholtz (UM), Nils Kok (UM)
Full article: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0236029