How to save money, raise sustainability and get a lift in staff productivity

Building for Impact

man annoyed by another man speaking on the phone

Even with Covid-19 there’s a 50 per cent occupancy rate in office buildings around Australia’s biggest capital cities. And with cost pressures mounting for most businesses, big and small, it’s a crucial time to focus on ways to make your business as efficient and effective as possible. And a big part of that is about staff motivation and attitude.

That’s a complex field of course, but according to the experts, quite a bit of staff productivity is linked to something as simple as the quality of the indoor air, or IEQ.

Think about it: if the air is stuffy and you feel like falling asleep after lunch, that’s not signalling a great outcome for productivity.

Perhaps the office is too hot, or too cold. Or maybe the airconditioning is not working well.

“Even at the best of times, staff in a professional services business accounts for about 80 per cent of expenses, and right now keeping staff happy and productive has never been more important,” she says.

According to one expert in the field, Prachi Garnawat of consultancy Building for Impact, these problems are often an easy fix and better still can be quite inexpensive.

Often it’s as easy as adjusting the temperature set points on the airconditioning, or fine tuning the humidity levels.

How your staff thinks and feels is key to what your business can achieve, Prachi says.

“Even at the best of times, staff in a professional services business accounts for about 80 per cent of expenses, and right now keeping staff happy and productive has never been more important,” she says.

“Taking a few simple steps to make sure staff are comfortable makes sense on so many levels.”

Even just asking how they feel can have a big impact workplace satisfaction. “It makes sense,” Prachi says, “it’s good to be asked and good to think someone’s listening to you.”

But Prachi’s company, also known as B4I, has assembled a team of facilities manager, mechanical engineer, architects and researchers in the building space to take efficiency and cost cutting even further.

She calls it a kind of “inside out” approach to building performance. It’s partly about measuring IEQ but also about making sure your energy consumption and other environmental and cost impacts are as low as possible.

B4I can assess each stage of the asset lifecycle, from design, through to occupancy.

It can assess NABERS ratings for energy, water, waste and IEQ and it can manage performance verification and assess thermal, visual and acoustic comfort.

Acoustic consulting is a growing area of the business, Prachi says, noting that it’s better to address acoustics before a development application is lodged with authorities, rather than fixing it later.

And if you want to show you care about your work environment as well as the wider environment, B4I can also assess your carbon footprint.

There’s a growing number of staff who are starting to ask their employers these questions, Prachi says.

They want to know they are working for a company that cares about the wider issues of the day.

“Our approach to deliver healthy indoor environmental quality along with sustainable choices,” Prachi says.

And there has never been a more important time to do that.

Building for Impact

Victoria