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Increasingly, the realisation that happy workers are productive workers is driving an increased focus on ‘wellbeing’ by employers. A study at the University of Warwick found that happiness in the workplace led to a 12% rise in productivity. By contrast, unhappy employees were 10% less productive than their neutral counterparts. 

These discoveries have brought about an increased focus on ‘wellbeing’ and ‘wellness’ in the workplace. Employers wanting to bring in the top talent now emphasise how well they look after their staff with generous health benefits and a multitude of other perks, from free healthy snacks to discounted fitness classes or gym memberships and the quality of the office environment. 

It’s long been known that the office environment isn’t exactly healthy. During the day, many employees are deskbound and sedentary, which can impact on their health. Even those that are moving between meetings can find the environmental aspects of the office space having a negative impact on their health and state of mind. Research has found that everything from differing temperatures between spaces, varying air quality and access to natural light, all result in a negative experience for individuals. Which leads to a drop in productivity and, more importantly, creativity.

In the last few months, we at Global have undertaken several ‘wellbeing’ projects for clients, resulting in significant changes in attitude to the office environment by the buildings occupants. 

This includes a leading tier-1 investment bank that had, on average, 3 complaints a week about the trading floor environment. Following a modest investment of effort, the client now has a vastly improved working space and no complaints from traders!

With the increase in focus on ‘wellbeing’ projects, Global Associates is investing time and effort building the next generation of environmental control solutions. Such as office environments that allow occupants to ‘voice their opinion’ via smartphones and connected devices in order to directly influence the environmental aspects of a space. 

This kind of ‘direct influence’ allows multiple occupants, within a given location, to interact with the building. Taking multiple requests into account and not simply allowing single users to directly dictate changes, results in a vastly improved office experience for its inhabitants. 

It might seem unintuitive at first, but projects like this are complementary to energy saving initiatives. It’s not the case that dynamic interaction with a building's environment negates the ability to reduce energy consumption.

With the increasing adoption of big data and machine learning, the possibilities for office space improvements are huge. After all, don't we all want to work within an environment that supports our creativity, not hinders it?

Written by Paul Jamieson on 03rd April 2017

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