This weekend hails the clocks turning back and the closing in of winter. The days are shorter and colder and for many of us that means that we leave for work in the dark and return back home again in the dark.
In turn, this means that getting the office lighting and temperature spot on is more important than ever.
Environmental Productivity is the name given to the science of how your space supports, or limits, the work that you do.
So, what can you do to enhance the productivity of your work force in the coming winter months?
Go Natural: When scientist Mirjam Muench tried to find out what effect the difference between daylight and artificial light had upon work productivity, she came up with this conclusion:
"Compared to the afternoon, people who had daylight were significantly more alert at the beginning of the evening, and subjects who were exposed to artificial light were significantly sleepier at the end of the evening."
We've mentioned before how important it is to get your office lighting levels right from a design perspective, and science backs this up for employee productivity and engagement.
Keep Warm: In a similar vein to getting your office lighting right, a study by Professor Alan Hedge, of Cornell University, found that there were "clear associations" between office work performance and indoor environment conditions:
"When temperatures were low (68 degrees or 20 degrees Celsius), employees made 44% more mistakes than at optimal room temperature (77 degrees or 25 degrees Celsius)."
If you are cold sitting at your office desk, you will not be fully focused on your task at hand. In a nutshell, feeling cold means you'll be summoning energy to keep warm, rather than spending it on something more useful.
Environmental Productivity must be part of not only your office design and planning, but has to be looked at in terms of ongoing office maintenance as well. Get the working conditions right and you will get more out of your workforce.