Not long ago, this blog discussed the WELL Building Standard® — why it’s right on the leading edge of current thought involving sustainability and the workplace. We’d like to continue the conversation, and get into something more specific.
Think about the last time you bought a new mattress. At some point you probably realized it was like you were sleeping on the side of a hill. Or the old one was lumpy. Or too hard or too soft. These are things you might put up with if you’re camping — but you shouldn’t have to in the comfort of your own home. That’s why you got a new one. Happily, bedtime became smooth, flat, and comfy, once again.
If we were to take a trip to the ancient, dust-covered days of the modern sustainability standard — by strapping ourselves into the time machine that’s been sitting in the back of the garage, and cranking the power up — we’d be going on a long, arduous journey all the way back to . . . 1993. Yep, just 25 years. When the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC ) was founded. Also when the development of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standard began. Let’s say you accosted a random badge-holder with edgy glasses at the nearest design conference, then demanded they immediately shout out the name of the first sustainability-friendly building standard that popped into their head. If you did that, “LEED!” would probably get yelled the most.
As of January 1, 2018: All Milliken modular carpet products manufactured
in North America are Red List Free, with third-party verification.
Green building today encompasses a myriad of product certifications, building standards and manufacturing processes. Transparency tools range in focus, from environmental impacts to potential risks to human health – and it is no surprise either. People spend more than 90% of their time inside, where the EPA estimates that pollutants are between two and five times higher than those outdoors.
Allergens make a significant contribution to air quality problems, and can have a significant impact on employee health and wellness in the workplace.
When allergy season comes around, you can have an office full of people sniffing and suffering – unless you take measures to reduce allergen levels in your office and improve indoor air quality through specific design choices.
But it’s not just a problem in spring, when pollen levels are high. Every day, common allergens make their way into your workplace: pet hair, perfume or other cosmetics, cleaning products, dust, and of course pollen.
Here are four things you can do when redesigning your workplace to help improve indoor air quality andcombat allergies.
“A big problem is that traditional learning experiences are not aligned with how the brain works” – Andrew Kim, Education Researcher, Steelcase.
Active learning gets students involved in their classes – taking part in activities such as group projects or class discussions, rather than passively listening to a teacher speak. It has been shown to improve student outcomes: one study used test results to show that students who used active learning methods learned twice as much as those learning in a traditional, lecture-based class.
So today I’m looking at how your classroom design and set-up can encourage active learning, to improve student engagement and outcomes.
Noise levels are one of the leading causes of workplace complaints. The open office trend is making noise levels a growing problem: fewer walls to block sound and more people in a shared space.
The American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers recommends that offices have a noise range between 49 and 58 dBA so as not to interfere with conversations or distract workers. But workers themselves prefer lower noise levels – not exceeding 52 dBA. (source)
But why exactly are loud offices a problem? Today we’re looking at 3 reasons why noisy offices are damaging – both for organizations and employees alike.
Sit-to-stand offices are growing in popularity, and with good reason: they offer a myriad of health and productivity benefits to employees and organizations alike.
However, the wide-spread adoption of this new working practice often has an unintended side-effect, with many employees starting to struggle with muscular fatigue as a result of increased standing. Many organizations turn to standing mats to alleviate discomfort and improve wellbeing, but actually, standing mats can sometimes cause more problems than they solve. Today, I’m looking at 3 reasons to avoid standing mats.
There’s an unseen epidemic sweeping through US workplaces: ‘presenteeism’. The costs of absent employees are well known, but it’s estimated that the costs of unfocused and unproductive employees are as much as 30% greater.
The only way to tackle the problem is to improve health and wellness, and help employees feel switched-on and happy at work. Importantly, this is something you can play a big part in: by building health and wellness into the fabric of your office design, and leveraging a design trend that’s been shown to boost wellbeing and productivity in the workplace. Today, I’m looking at the benefits of biophilic design.