Strategy 5 easy green office hacks that could make your company more productive

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It may sound crazy to give your employees control of their own thermostats, but it may make them more productive.

Dwight probably could have benefitted from some of these tips. play

Dwight probably could have benefitted from some of these tips.

(NBC)
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It may sound crazy to give your employees control of their own thermostats, but it may just make them more productive.

Business Insider spoke with Emma Stewart, chief business development officer at Impact Infrastructure to find out what could be done around an office building to increase productivity. Impact Infrastructure runs simulations to find out how a company can alter its offices in a way that benefits both the environment and worker productivity.

Impact Infrastructure uses Autocase software to customize recommendations for each company, because not every company has the same building size or materials to work with. Some suggestions might work for certain companies, but not other companies, which is why customization is so important.

We asked Stewart to run a few simulations of changes companies can make to yield higher productivity, using an average office building in San Francisco as her example.

Here's what she came up with:

1. "Is it just me or is it cold in here?" says everyone at some point.

A man warms his hands by the virtual fire. play

A man warms his hands by the virtual fire.

(Christopher/Flickr)

If you give 60% of your employees access to control their own thermal comfort, you could see a 3.7% increase in productivity and a 16.2% increase in health benefits, Autocase predicts.

Oftentimes buildings blast either the air conditioning or heat, to the point that offices are either freezing or boiling. This could be wasting an awful lot of energy for people who don't want that much heat or AC.



2. Let there be light!

LinkedIn's office decorated their bright lights. play

LinkedIn's office decorated their bright lights.

(Jim Edwards / BI)

Giving 100% of your employees control of the interior lighting around their workspaces could yield a 10.7% increase in productivity.

People prefer different levels of light, Stewart says, so companies might be wasting an awful lot of lighting for people who don't want it.



3. People like pretty views.

Can you get a view like this rooftop garden for your office? Your employees will reward you for it. play

Can you get a view like this rooftop garden for your office? Your employees will reward you for it.

(Gabrien Symons/Business Insider)

If you can manage to make 85% of views indoors and outdoors quality views, you could see a 3.9% increase in productivity, and a 20.2% increase in absenteeism benefits (fewer days off), the Autocase software found.

A 2015 study concluded that just looking at nature can improve focus and productivity. Green roofs work exceptionally well for this in cities, the Washington Post reported. Business Insider has also identified 11 health benefits of spending time in nature.



4. Get those wall-to-wall windows installed; it may just be worth it.

Even if the view isn't great, the lighting helps. play

Even if the view isn't great, the lighting helps.

(Shutterstock/ GaudiLab)

If companies can increase the sunlight in the office to reach 100% percent of floor space, they can expect a 7.2% increase in productivity.

This isn't surprising, as a study the Interdepartmental Neuroscience program at Northwestern University found exposure to natural daylight improves workplace performance, Psychology Today reported.



5. Workers want to breathe easy.

These people really want you to have clean air! play

These people really want you to have clean air!

(Business Insider)

Particularly in older buildings, if companies install new state-of-the-art air ducts in their offices, employees are likely to take fewer sick days and be more productive thanks to the better-quality air. It may be a higher upfront cost, but the money recouped in the productivity, and saved in the lack of sick days, could justify the upfront cost, Stewart told Business Insider.

A study by Harvard University and Syracuse University came to the same conclusion.



A caveat

The world's best boss might want to heed this advice. play

The world's best boss might want to heed this advice.

(NBC/Netflix)

The specific percentages of productivity yielded by these changes may vary for different buildings. For example, one company could buy a building that already has a top-of-the-line air duct.

But the premise behind the recommendations is the same — so companies might want to look into how their offices are affecting their worker productivity.