In an interaction with Mr Pradeep Misra, CMD REPL, SMEStreet found that workplace environment has become one of the most crucial factor for employee productivity. The exclusive interaction highlighted some key and innovative trends in the workplace. One of the key trend is Mr Misra highlighted is 'Green Workplace'
The edited excerpts of the interview:
Please explain the concept of Green Workplace? How is this concept getting accepted in India?
The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) in a poll defined Green Workplaces as environmentally sensitive, resource efficient and socially responsible workspaces. The concept of Green Workplaces is driven by corporate strategies for leveraging Human Resources in the best possible way, which in turn drives optimal productivity. These strategies are innately linked with psychological aspects, health and hygiene as well as the holistic concept of sustainability. The US Harris Poll based on linkages of HR and “Green” aspects of workplaces has found that 33% of the country’s populations are inclined to work in Green Buildings compared to companies without any effort to promote social and environmental friendly practices.
What are the productive benefits this Green workplace brings to the organization?
As the link of productivity of Human Resource and environmental aspects of a workplace is subservient, corporations are now on the process of transformation of their existing offices to Green Spaces. Health is related intrinsically with intellectual and physical development of human and hence with productivity. In the backdrop of a deteriorating environment simulated by surging pollution and facets such as global warming, the concept of Green Building is emerging on the mainstream. As the positive effects of Green Construction on health is becoming increasingly clear, its advocacy of productivity in human resource also becoming evident. Healthy body connotes a healthy mind increasing competency and hence, productivity of human resources.
Workplaces have substantial impact on human resource performance. A number of scientific studies have concluded that productivity is directly proportional to sustainable aspects of environment in any workplace. Surroundings have profound impact on Reading Speed, Comprehension, Signal Recognition as well as Typing Speed. These are the basic elements of any work operation translating to productivity. A strong link exists between quality of indoor air and the incidence of allergy and asthma symptoms. In adequate ventilation causes higher concentration of carbon dioxide that incurs a number of health hazards including fatigue, headaches and increased risk of Sick Building Syndrome. Ambient temperature is intrinsically related to performance.
Studies have proven that the most amicable temperature for employees is 22 degree centigrade. Performance is reported to increase up to 21 to 22 degree centigrade and is reported to decrease with temperature above 23 to 24 degree centigrade. Lighting has mixed results in office workers. A test performed in School students showed improvements of 16-26 percent in performance of students in day lighting. Environmentally sustainable aspects have clear relationship with productivity elements such as absenteeism, retention, engagement and turnover.
How is this Green workplace environment is been adopted in the developed world?
A research by U.S. Green Building Council proved that level of indoor pollutants can be higher than that of outdoors by 10 times. Green buildings are healthier as they provide cleaner environment and hence, health benefits. Studies have indicated that these buildings yielded $53 to $71 per square foot back on investment over an average period of 20 years. It is also found out that industry sectors could save up to $130 Billion only by saving electricity through Green Buildings. Investment risk in these buildings is much less than conventional construction. A survey by International Energy Agency indicated that existing buildings across the globe contributes to more than 40% of total primary energy consumption and 24% of global Carbon Dioxide Emission.
Organizations around the Globe are gradually adopting the concept of Green Building over traditional workspaces. Apart from optimal utilization of human resource these allows to save cost and contribute towards holistic development. Corporations such as Ford, Pepsico and so on are emerging as pioneers to adopt the idea and in realty sector; Green Building is becoming a strong USP. Many companies across the globe are now opting for Green workspaces to leverage its benefits.
What are the other key factors that effects on employee productivity?
The aesthetics aspects of Green Building are paramount to promote human productivity. Green architecture and design offers a sustained environment, which is in harmony with nature. Such surroundings guarantee reduction of noise and thereby propagate peace of mind. This feature is substantial to induce productivity in human mind and develop quality human resources. A proportional relation exists between a peaceful mind and creativity. Natural environment supports innovation and creative thinking, which has been the backbone human civilization. Worker Productivity is among the most important aspects of Green Building. Increased productivity and employee’s positive approach to workplace are directly correlated. Certain aspects of Green Building such as lighting, reduced pollution, proper ventilation and reduced toxins have direct impact on worker’s productivity.
Green Buildings are the juxtaposition of every aspect that fosters healthy lifestyle. Human performance, in present times, must be considered as important as energy performance and the increasing paradigms of technological development. With the emergence of technological amenities, human beings seem to stray away from their actual level of competence, both mentally and physically. Prioritizing this issue is crucial and development pattern that supports human abilities to grow should be initiated, rather than rendering further depreciation of performance.