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To Measure Productivity, Start By Measuring Health

Oct 20, 2016

Measuring productivity has long been the bane of many a corporate real estate (CRE) professional’s existence. How does one measure productivity, particularly for knowledge workers? Certainly not by the number of widgets produced per hour.

A panel Tuesday at the CoreNet Global Summit in Philadelphia told an audience of corporate real estate professionals that even before worker productivity can be measured, health and wellness of employees needs to be tracked and gauged.

While that’s just as difficult, it’s an important first step is recognizing the shift from wellness to wellbeing, said Eileen McNeely, PhD, MS, RNC Faculty, Harvard School of Public Health and Co-Director SHINE, Harvard School of Public Health.

Wellbeing, in the context of the workplace, includes a focus on specific practices – building location, interior layout, building systems, work processes, social climate.

Leigh Stringer, LEED AP, Workplace Specialist, EYP, said that EYP recently launched a company-wide survey of the health of its workforce, and revealed the results for the first time during the session:

  • Only 30 percent of staff is meeting national exercise targets.
  • If people had access to green space, they were much more likely to get their workouts in.
  • As a whole, 40 percent of employees are sleeping 6 hours or less.
  • Staff under 45 are sleeping less than staff 45 and older
  • 60 percent of women are chronically stressed, younger staff also stressed; whether or not someone has direct reports is not a factor
  • There was a correlation between commute time, increased work hours and sleep.

Piers MacNaughton, DSc, Project Manager, Healthy Buildings Program, Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment, revealed a system that incorporates nine foundations for a healthy environment: ventilation/air quality, thermal health, moisture, dusts/pests, safety/security, water quality, noise, lighting and views.

By tracking these elements in real time (see graphic), building managers can begin to get their hands around factors that determine employee well being.

And, McNeely said something else that should appeal to every corporate real estate professional: innovation happens when companies make health a default business strategy.

health Innovation Productivity Talent Wellbeing Wellness
CoreNet Global