Employees seem less sick, more productive in 'green' workplaces
- Harvard University and SUNY Upstate Medical University led a series of studies showing that employees in green-certified buildings were healthier, happier and functioned better mentally, reports SHRM. The study surveyed 109 office workers in five cities nationwide.
- Green-certified buildings are high-performing structures that meet the standards of energy and environmental certifying associations, writes SHRM. Workers in these buildings had higher scores for cognitive functioning and sleep quality. They also had fewer illness symptoms found among workers in unhealthy environments or “sick buildings,” the study showed.
- Joe Allen, assistant professor at Harvard University's School of Public Health and a co-author of the study, told SHRM that job seekers should consider working for employers that operate in green-certified work environments. He said that good companies know the value of providing a healthy workspace and that healthy buildings are a recruiting tool.
Job seekers might think of their ideal workspaces as comfortable and visually appealing. But they might not consider whether these environments are healthy — a growing concern thanks to the general rise of wellness programs. Now, healthy workspaces can help improve the health of the entire workforce in demonstrable ways, especially if that space encourages walking and provides healthy snacks.
Employers should have their workplaces evaluated for problems that could create health problems for workers, and take measures to eliminate health risks. It's an easy way to improve wellness for everyone in an office, rather than at an individual level.