Workers Want an Office That’s Committed to Sustainability and Wellness

10/29/2018 By Sarah Kloepple

Showing that an office or building you’ve designed has a strong commitment to sustainability and wellness can be a significant deciding factor for Americans when choosing a workplace, according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The organization recently released a report that found employees who work in LEED-certified green buildings are happier, healthier and more productive than those in conventional, non-LEED buildings.

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A Competitive Job Market

In May of this year, the U.S. Labor Department reported that the number of American workers quitting voluntarily reached its highest level in 17 years. The rate edged up to 2.4 percent, or about 3.3 million workers.

“What that tells us is there’s more job competitiveness than ever before and that companies need to be doing more to differentiate themselves when they’re wooing potential employees,” says Marisa Long, vice president of public relations and communications for the USGBC.

After the release of those statistics, the USGBC felt compelled to explore the topic further, so they conducted a survey that included 1,001 workers in the U.S. who are employed full-time or part-time, or self-employed but work in an office building setting.

Sustainability and Wellness are Key

The survey found that 84 percent of respondents prefer to work for a company that has a strong, concrete mission and positive values. In addition, 79 percent said they would choose a job in a LEED-certified building over a non-LEED building.

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The report also found that while traditional benefits like salary and healthcare continue to be important, the office setting itself – i.e., natural light, indoor air quality – are becoming increasingly vital as potential employees make decisions about where they want to work. According to the survey, 85 percent of employees in LEED-certified buildings say their access to quality outdoor views and natural sunlight boosts their overall productivity and happiness, and 80 percent say the enhanced air quality improves their physical health and comfort.

“This survey really shows that occupants care about their work, their environment and how it impacts them,” Long says.

Knowing that occupants prioritize these issues, interior designers should take advantage of this report as an opportunity to educate and engage clients more directly on the benefits of green design and products. That can help foster a more sustainable and healthy work environment, which could end up being a deciding factor when a potential employee must decide on one position over another.

USGBC's survey found that sustainability and wellness are key factors in a successful office environment.
Infographic courtesy of USGBC

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