If building occupants are not physically comfortable they are less likely to be able to concentrate on their tasks and work effectively. This is known as ‘presenteeism’ i.e. when an employee is present at work but cannot perform efficiently. Presenteeism, as well as absenteeism, can cost organisations significantly. The role of FMs in providing a comfortable indoor environment is broadly recognised. FMs are normally the first point of contact when it comes to issues related to physical comfort as they are usually responsible for managing indoor environmental factors such as:
- Air quality
- Lighting level
- Noise level
- Thermal comfort
So, FMs should maintain a physically comfortable environment for the occupants. Providing a platform where the occupants can log/report their wellbeing-related complaints can help the FMs to identify the issues and respond to them faster.
Another indoor environmental factor that can affect occupant wellbeing is space utilisation. FMs should try to better understand the occupants’ type of work, as well as their company’s strategy and direction to create a space to support the needs. FMs should collaborate with their HR and ICT teams to ensure their buildings are efficient in terms of occupant density, functionality (fitness for purpose), layout, furniture, ICT, and indoor facilities (e.g. restaurant, shower rooms, meeting rooms with video conferencing facilities, etc.). In addition to personal workstations, providing designated areas for collaboration, contemplation and formal and informal meetings can significantly contribute towards workplace wellness.
Until recently, FMs’ responsibilities were focused on managing HVAC, lighting systems, furniture and other physical factors that affect workplace safety and quality. The FM’s role has now taken on another level. FMs should focus not only on physical factors of buildings but also the psychological experience of people in the workplace. Many factors in a workplace can influence occupant psychological wellness. Access to nature, for example, is thought to have benefits for wellbeing. Growing evidence suggests that access to nature, outside view and indoor greenery reduces mental fatigue and improves individuals’ ability to deal with stress and other work/life-related issues.
BSRIA recognises the importance of wellbeing and can support you in measuring and improving wellbeing. Please contact email@example.com or 01344 465578 should you have any questions or need more information.