Workplace wellbeing - a surprising solution   

Employee wellbeing is rising to the top of the corporate agenda as businesses realise the positive impact a comfortable working environment has on its inhabitants. This is not before time, as a growing body of research has found that optimising the comfort conditions in a place of work can have a positive impact on people’s physical and psychological health.

 

The great indoors

 

According to the Building Research Establishment (BRE), people in Europe spend around 90 per cent of their time indoors, so it stands to reason that poor air quality can have a detrimental impact on health. This report by David P Wyon on the effects of an indoor environment on levels of productivity found that poor air quality reduces productivity through symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, aches and pains, eye and throat problems and skin irritation. It can also exacerbate seasonal affective disorder (SAD), stress, depression, backache
and other cardiovascular ailments.

 

The good news is that the issue is being tackled through frameworks and standards relating to the design and operation of built environments. For example, the International WELL Building Institute’s (IWBI) WELL Building Standard is a performance based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing. It focuses on air, water, nourishment, light, fitness and comfort.

 

Read: Meeting the university challenge

 

A leading role

 

A Building Energy Management System (BEMS) can play a vital role in enhancing occupational wellbeing by creating an environment where air quality and general comfort conditions are fully optimised. It can also ensure that people work in properly illuminated conditions, the importance of which was highlighted in this study. It claimed that 36 per cent of psychologists and psychiatrists believe a lack of natural light is the number one workplace health hazard.

 

It should come as no surprise that employees who are more comfortable are more industrious. In fact, the World Green Building Council claims that productivity improvements of 8-11 per cent are not uncommon as a result of better air quality, while a Gensler survey found that 90 per cent of employees admitted that their attitude about work is adversely affected by the quality of their workplace environment.

 

Tools of the trade

 

It’s important to give occupants a certain amount of control of their workspaces – something that Trend recognises. A BEMS that is correctly zoned can provide users with control of their immediate environment or areas using the Trend graphical Supervisor IQVISION.

 

Individuals can access their own unique graphic or dashboard, which displays relevant information in an easy to understand format.

But, at the same time, the amount of access to the system can be kept at an appropriate level for each user, i.e. the office manager can make their area warmer or cooler within an agreed band or extend lighting for an hour at the end of the day – but cannot access the HVAC controls system for pumps or boilers unlike the estates manager.

 

‘To enhance cyber security, IQ®VISION can also utilise users existing corporate Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) passwords,’ explains Anthony Dann, Business Development Manager at Trend.

 

‘This means that any smart device with the appropriate security levels such as a user’s own PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone can access relevant information remotely. This makes the information within a BEMS system accessible to a more diverse group of users, allowing them to see local wellbeing parameters as well additional building wide information contained in IQVISION.

 

This can all can be displayed and interacted with on an instantaneous basis.’

 

 

Centre of excellence

 

A workplace that has wellbeing as a key focus will offer a better return on any investment through improved productivity, less absence through illness and better staff morale. It is therefore clear that, as well as being at the forefront of the drive towards greater energy efficiency, the environmental benefits that can be experienced through a BEMS are considerable.

 

For information on similar subjects and hot topics in our industry, click here for details of forthcoming BSRIA briefings.

 

To find out more about how Trend can help improve wellbeing in workplaces call Anthony Dann on 07885 653883 or send an email to Anthony.dann@trendcontrols.com.

 

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Published  on  06/11/2018  by  James Tate
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