Why Green Offices Boost Productivity

Sourced from In The Black

More than a breath of fresh air, green offices can boost workspace productivity and save organisations thousands of dollars by dramatically reducing illness and absenteeism.

“Our offices are designed to be the best place for people to work effectively,” says Duncan Young, Lendlease’s head of health and wellbeing. 

“Plants are clustered in focus areas to absorb noise, and low VOC finishes and furnishings are used throughout. We also have higher floor-to-ceiling ratios for greater light penetration, and all staff sit within eight metres of windows.” There are also stand-up desks at 40 per cent of work stations.

The result? More than 73 per cent of staff feel the new workplace enables them to work productively, says Young. No surprise, then, that Lendlease’s headquarters has been ranked in the top 6 per cent globally for workplace design, functionality and effectiveness by the Leesman Index, which gives a functionality score for corporate workplaces across 67 countries.

At the other end of the index are old office blocks that suffer from poor air quality and the build-up of VOCs. According to Australia’s Department of Environment and Energy, drowsiness, headaches and even respiratory disease can be the result. 

However, at the Barangaroo development, all 80 tenants, from sushi-train restaurants to banks and bakeries, have achieved Green Star ratings. Green Stars are awarded by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) for good air quality, lighting and thermal comfort, and avoiding use of harmful chemicals and materials. 

Achieving Green Stars may require a bigger upfront investment, but the pay-off is increased productivity and staff retention. John Arthur, chief operating officer at Westpac, which has offices at Barangaroo, says for him the proof is a 16 per cent reduction in absenteeism over a year.

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