- Want to make employers feel better and be more productive? Give them a serious dose of clean, fresh air. An October 2015 Harvard-led study, cited by Crain's New York Business, found that good indoor air quality can boost performance and cognitive functionality – important since office space is booming in cities like New York.
- According to Crain's, Manhattan is expected to need an additional 92 million square feet of new office space by the year 2040. So building owners and developers there – and by extension employers who may end up with workers in those spaces – may want to consider the implications of such a study.
- The good news for today's HR managers is the study also said existing office space can get the same impact; all it takes is things like an HVAC system upgrade and/or renovated and redesigned interiors to get those air-quality - and by extension, productivity - upticks.
The Harvard study reported higher cognitive scores in nine criteria tested would translate into improved productivity and increased worker health and satisfaction, including an illness-driven absenteeism decrease. But an HR leader would have to have major clout to convince a building owner to open their checkbooks for better inside air quality – even if the employer actually owned the building.
However, building and office wellness have both emerged as ways for employers to encourage engagement and improve employee health. Employees of all ages (though millennials are a common voice for these concerns) now seek offices that encourage well-being -- and that includes saying goodbye to cramped spaces, windowless walls and sitting for eight hours straight.