New UK Research by WLP+ Shows Improving Environment Conditions in Offices Can Improve Our Cognitive Capabilities and Make Us More Productive

New UK Research by WLP+ Shows Improving Environment Conditions in Offices Can Improve Our Cognitive Capabilities and Make Us More Productive

PR Newswire

LONDON, December 5, 2018

LONDON, December 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

Office temperature and humidity levels are also key factors that undermine people's productivity and wellbeing.

We all instinctively know that poor office conditions lead to dissatisfied, unproductive and unwell building occupants. However, until now the relationship between indoor environmental conditions and productivity has been largely studied in the laboratory.

The research: 
Whole Life Performance Plus (WLP+) is a £530,000 three-year study, with funding support by Innovate UK and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) that looked at people's performance in real world environments. The research reveals how office environments can dramatically undermine people's wellbeing and productivity.

Between February 2017 and October 2018, the WLP+ project monitored two office buildings that represent UK working conditions - one modern and one older building.

Workers from the two case study buildings took proofreading, numerical, and Stroop tests in a variety of indoor temperatures, CO2 levels and Relative Humidity conditions. Workers undertook a total of over 7,850 surveys and tasks to complete the analysis. The lessons learnt were applied in another ultra-modern building.

The findings: 
The research found that when CO2 levels were lowered, people completed the tests dramatically faster and scored better:

The implications of this ground-breaking study are dramatic. Previous studies1, 2 have shown that UK productivity can be improved by between 2 and 3.5% by optimising workplaces, which equates to £40 - £70 billion of additional output to the UK economy.

Professor Rajat Gupta, Oxford Brooke University said:

"We spend 90% of our time indoors and it's crucial to understand how today's climate-controlled environments are impacting the way we perform. Our research has developed an innovative approach for measuring and optimising indoor environmental conditions and workplace performance to create productive working environments. This ultimately could see better staff engagement and greater return on investment for businesses."

John O'Brien, MD and Founder, LCMB said:

"This groundbreaking study provides insights that are valuable for every single UK company. This study highlights a relatively simple way for UK businesses and Government to increase the output of our economy by 2 to 3.5%, worth an additional £70 billion. LCMB has developed a workplace performance and productivity measurement and improvement methodology to help organisations improve their resource utilisation and return on investment based on the project findings." 

Professor Derek Clements-Croome, BCO Research Committee said:

"This work marks an important step in deepening our understanding of how people and buildings interact. The project is important in another respect, as it shows how effective collaborative work between practice and academia can be."

Don Ward, Chief Executive, Constructing Excellence said:

"This research proves that workplaces which are optimised for indoor environmental conditions enable workers to perform at higher levels. It demonstrates a route for organisations to use their built assets and workplaces to enhance their performance and that of the UK."

Steven Kellett, Sustainability Manager, Argent UK:

"The WLP+ project has helped bring further evidence to demonstrate that office design has a huge impact on employee productivity. We will look to use the outcomes of this research to continually ensure that the buildings we develop and manage are optimised to ensure the occupiers of our offices are productive and more importantly healthy."

Keith Chanter, CEO, EMCOR UK said:

"The WLP+ project has strengthened EMCOR UK's understanding of the impact of indoor air quality, including CO2, on the wellbeing and performance of people in their different working environments. Knowledge gained has helped shape a range of new technology and data led advisory and intervention solutions."

Nick O'Donnell, Director of Estates and Facilities, Kings College London:

"Kings College London is a world class research led university and we are proud to have contributed to this research to improve workplace performance and productivity."

References:

1The Stoddart review (2016) http://stoddartreview.com/

2 BCO(2017) Defining and measuring productivity in offices

Download the "Improving Productivity in the Workplace" WLP+ report: https://wlpplus.com/wp-content/uploads/Improving-Productivity-in-the-Workplace-Results-of-the-WLP-Project.pdf

About the WLP+ Project 

The Whole Life Performance Plus (WLP+) project brings together a consortium of leading experts in building performance, property development and facilities management. LCMB Building Performance Ltd. and Low Carbon Building Research Group of Oxford Brookes University are co-leads on the project. The WLP+ solutions have been tested in office buildings managed by Argent (developer) and EMCOR UK (facilities management) and those owned and occupied by King's College London. Throughout the project, findings have been disseminated by the British Council for Offices and Constructing Excellence.

 

For more information please contact: John O'Brien, LCMB, t: +44(0)1295-722823, e: john@lcmb.co.uk

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