In recent years, organisations have shifted more attention to improving ‘staff wellbeing’, with research indicating that happiness due to factors from within the workforce positively affect their productivity (Oswald, Proto & Sgroi, 2015). But how exactly is this achieved?
3 Ways to Improve Organisational Satisfaction
Well, one way to improve organisational satisfaction is to look at the literal environment of a workplace through considering a few key aspects, such as lighting! It has been found that having a lack of exposure to natural light is correlated with higher cortisol levels and lower melatonin levels, and this in turn may lead to depressive symptoms and reduce the quality of sleep that someone has (Harb, Hidalgo & Martau, 2015). This implies that workspaces which rely mainly on artificial light for illumination, compared to sunlight, could negatively impact the wellbeing and health of its workers, and addressing this would be beneficial. A recent 2019 Harvard study found that what employees wanted, above wellness programs or workplace perks, was simply more access to natural light (Meister, 2019), believing this would be what would help them the most.
This same study found that employees also highly desire better air quality, with research results showing a positive correlation between productivity loss and workers perceiving the air quality as poor. This, along with the results of a studying proving that employees have lowered wellbeing when they are at an uncomfortable temperature (Lan, Lian & Pan, 2010), indicate that good ventilation and air systems are indispensable to employee wellbeing in the workplace.
Finally, greenery in and around the workplace has likewise been correlated to workers’ comfort, happiness and health. Research has found that there is a significant relationship between lower levels of stress and having physical or even visual access to some type of greenery. (Lottrup, Grahn & Stigsdotter, 2013).
Overall, it’s clear that the 3 environmental factors of natural light, air ventilation and greenery have an overwhelmingly positive impact on workers general wellbeing and productivity. By taking this into account when constructing new workspaces, or in retrofitting existing ones, organisations can hope to maintain a happy, healthy workforce that is good for everyone!
Harb, F., Hidalgo, M., & Martau, B. (2015). Lack of exposure to natural light in the workspace is associated with physiological, sleep and depressive symptoms. Chronobiology International, 32(3), 368–375. https://doi.org/10.3109/07420528.2014.982757
Lan, L., Lian, Z., & Pan, L. (2010). The effects of air temperature on office workers’ well-being, workload and productivity-evaluated with subjective ratings. Applied Ergonomics, 42(1), 29–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2010.04.003
Lottrup, L., Grahn, P., & Stigsdotter, U. (2013). Workplace greenery and perceived level of stress: Benefits of access to a green outdoor environment at the workplace. Landscape and Urban Planning, 110(1), 5–11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2012.09.002