Design impacts life, Dr. Ramesh

Design impacts life, Dr. Ramesh

Dr. Ramesh, Archinova Designs Pvt. Ltd.

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Employees’ experiences in the office are influenced by multiple factors including the individual design components (e.g., lighting, acoustics, colour, texture, etc.), the space in its collective form, and the social environment generated by the occupants

The office spaces in Future would incorporate the most innovative health and wellness design features and has sustainability as a central philosophy.

The best methodology to be adopted is a comprehensive pre and post occupancy study of the work place design impacts health, wellness, employee satisfaction and work performance.

The broad categorization is as follows:

  1. Investigate the impact of innovative work Place design on work, behaviour and performance.
  2. Examine how spatial design, organisation goals, ambition and work requirements.
  3. Demonstrate the impacts of design of human sustainability, organisational sustainability and environmental sustainability.

Research / study highlights

Office design improves indoor environmental quality, emotional satisfaction, employee health and wellness, employee retention, employee performance & resource efficiency.

The office design shapes the social environment and boost employees performance.

Each research project provided insight on the role of workplace design and its impact on employees and their work. The projects reported how an employee worked in the co-working office, how they work at regular office, and any differences that exist. Taking the key findings from each research project into account, here are the highlights on how the current office demonstrates the impact of design.

Health and sustainability is at the heart of the new office design. Recognizing the impact physical surroundings have on human health, relied on existing research and standards to design a healthy office that is a living and learning laboratory for the design industry. The office is not only validated by third-party institutions as a healthy and sustainable office but supporting data from pre- and post-occupancy research projects further confirms improved environmental quality and enhanced employee satisfaction on environmental conditions.

INDOOR AIR QUALITY

Design strategies such as a VOC reduction that is required for product finishes, interior paints and coatings, and interior adhesives and sealants to meet multiple standards; an air filtration that purifies outdoor air and recirculated air; and a ventilation effectiveness design that regulates the ventilation rate of outdoor air to keep carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the space below 800ppm, as it must be monitored, environmental metrics in the office, higher CO2 levels etc.

LIGHTING

Survey results indicate that all employees have knowledge of circadian lighting and its effects on their health and well-being, and 25 percent of employees attribute circadian lighting at the office for their enhanced sleep quality. The design team’s lighting consultants designed a circadian protection lighting system to ensure employees continue to stay entrained to the natural daylight cycle, even indoors. Considering the colour temperature of light and its intensity, the light fixtures house colour changing LED or multiple cool (5000K for late afternoon/evening) and warm (2700K for morning) fluorescent lamps to resemble ambient light qualities outdoors. Additionally, all individual workstations have access to a north-facing window with daylighting and views to the exterior, but face within 20° perpendicular to the plane of the nearest window to help reduce glare.

Different methods exist when measuring circadian lighting, but according to the WELL performance verification, 81 percent of the tested locations exceed 250 EML (Equivalent Melanopic Lux)2 even on an overcast day.

ACOUSTICS

The average sound pressure levels (dB) measured in the 1 open office during typical work conditions reduced significantly—measurements were half the loudness in the open office compared to the co-working office. For example, a call centre receives approximately 4,000 calls per month, and sound levels in the call centre reduced to a quarter of what they were when specifically comparing them to the previous workspace.

Interestingly, the data shows that employees speak in a softer voice than when they were in the co-working office, and employees say the sound masking system does a pretty good job in cancelling noise and enabling speech privacy. Satisfaction with reduced noise and speech privacy increased significantly, with overall satisfaction in acoustical quality improving 92 percent. The design team’s acoustical consultants should consider the different sources for noise and created a design to provide acoustical comfort appropriate to each of the spatial zones. Strategies include space planning, material selection, and a sound masking system in the open office (46dBA) and private offices (42dBA).

SPATIAL QUALITY

The design of the office has significantly improved the spatial quality overall , assessed its office using the CAPTIW© worksheet3, which analyses the performance of physical workspaces in relation to organizational innovation strategies and innovation performance according to seven key performance indicators identified by research: 1) space type, 2) space and furniture layout, 3) space size and access, 4) neural and psychological stimulation and relaxation, 5) furniture ergonomics and technology, 6) ambient conditions, and 7) healthfulness

(A few aspects of the article would be covered in the later which would make a strong impact to the reader about work places in future.)

CO-WORKING OFFICE

  • AVERAGE
  • 70dbOFFICE
  • AVERAGE 60d b
  • (Call centre: 63dB)
  • *10dB difference equals x2 loudness
  • *20dB difference equals x4 loudness

The office scores an average 83.9 percent of the total 100 points possible, with top indicators being space size and access (100%), healthfulness (98.8%), and space type (91.7%). All indicators are a significant improvement compared to the co-working office, and higher than the benchmark scores—further validating how exemplary the 15th St. office is compared to others. However, the tool identified several areas in need of improvement, such as having more low-tech collaborative tools in the open workspace and recharge spaces for play. Additionally, employees mentioned the need for heads-down space that does not allow disturbance. Although the private offices provide quiet individual work, the glass doors keep the occupant visually connected to the rest of the office allowing for disruptions and affording visual distractions.

For example: – A Corridor/Passage in an office is illustrated as follows:-

 

Design impacts the experience

Design impacts the intangible, such as the experience people have in the space. employees’ experiences in the office are influenced by multiple factors including the individual design components (e.g., lighting, acoustics, colour, texture, etc.), the space in its collective form, and the social environment generated by the occupants. Referring to humancentered design, first examined its corporate identity, team roles, individual responsibilities, work processes, and work behaviours to ensure that its office was an extension of the organization. In doing so, the design of the office had a resounding effect, generating more positive experiences than initially intended.

Productivity

The design standards applied in the office to achieve their goals in sustainability and employee health. Beyond these direct effects, and the seeing increases in several productivity measures alluding to the impact of design on productivity. Absenteeism scores (ranging from -1 to 1), measured by how much employees are working more than expected by their employer, improved by 19 percent. This moves the previous negative score (-0.025: employees worked 2.5 percent less than expected) to the positive range – the current score of 0.16 indicates employees are working 16 percent more than expected, which equates to 9.6 minutes more work completed per hour4. Presenteeism (ranging from 0 to 100) has also improved, indicating that on average, employees feel they are working at 90 percent of their possible job performance, which is a 16 percent increase to what was reported in the co-working office.

Satisfaction in visual privacy leads to perceived organizational productivity, which could mean that those who can tolerate the openness of the office can accomplish work more efficiently and effectively. Employees that rated higher on place attachment, perceived social support, stress tolerance, and interaction with others were also associated with higher productivity scores.

RETURN ON INVESTMENT

The impact of design resonates beyond the individual and to the organizational bottom line. Using a calculation determine the financial impact to the organization’s bottom line accounts for employee productivity, employee retention, and energy savings. Taking the average employee cost including salary, benefits, overhead, and other costs, and applying the 16 percent productivity increase reported over the first year at the office, calculations made indicate it will recoup its investment in the first half of its 9-year lease agreement.

Productivity + Employee   + Energy Savings + FINANCIAL IMPACT

                          Retention                                                  ( ROI )

ENERGY SAVINGS

The research findings show the office has saved over 76 MWh in lighting energy over the first fifteen months of occupancy, based on Lutron’s Quantum® Green Glance® software. That cost savings and more importantly,38.2 tons of coal not burned, and 72.9 tons of CO2 not emitted into the atmosphere. We save 78.2 percent, on average, of the energy we would use each day if we were to have lights full on, using strategies like daylighting, tuning, occupancy sensors, and personal control systems.

EMPLOYEE RETENTION

Apart from the financial benefits to be even greater than the calculations on productivity alone. Findings from the Design study confirm that perceived environmental quality has a significant effect on turnover intention, especially when controlling for job demands and control. Further investigation on this relationship uncovered environmental quality having a positive effect on employee retention, whereas job demands have negative effects.

Research Associates has yet to translate this into an actual number, but the consensus from other studies5 suggest the cost savings from retaining an employee are remarkable. Office design, especially when job demands, or the office culture support the messages communicated through the design, intensifies the power to make cost savings.

The entire article is being written keeping in view the readers implementing well being to all.

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