Proceedings of Healthy Buildings 2000, Vol 1

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Proceedings of Healthy Buildings 2000, Vol 1


Derek Clements-Croome1 and Li Baizhan2
University of Reading, Department of Construction Management and Engineering, UK Jukes Associates, UK

Surveys in several office buildings have shown that crowded work places, job dissatisfaction and physical environment are the main factors affecting productivity. the data was produced and analyzed using occupational stress indicator in conjunction with the analytical hierarchical process. thermal problems, stuffiness, sick building syndrome factors and crowded work places were most frequent complaints. the results suggest that the productivity could be improved by 4 to 10% by improving the office environmental conditions. KEYWORDS: SBS, productivity, thermal comfort, perceived air quality, stress

It is much higher cost to employ people then it is to maintain and operate a building, hence spending money on improving the work environment is the most cost effective way of improving productivity because of small percentage increase in productivity of 0.1% to 2% can have dramatic effects on the profitability of the company. The current state of knowledge on this subject is described by Clements-Croome [1]. Practical applications of some of this knowledge is described by Oseland and Barlett [2]

This research focuses on the relationship between productivity and the indoor environment in the offices and takes into account the fact that productivity depends on other factors by using an Occupational Stress Indicator (OSI) which has been developed to include an environmental dimension [3,4]. OSI is a job satisfaction scale involving question or statements, asking respondent to state what they think or feel about their job as whole or specific aspects of it. Likeret scaling using five, seven or nine point scales is usually used. The OSI has been demonstrated by Arnold [5]. The occupational stress indicator is designed to gather information about groups as well as individuals and it attempts to measure the major sources of occupational pressure; occupational stress; coping mechanisms and individual differences which may moderate the impact of stress. An environmental dimension has been built into this indicator covering temperature, ventilation, humidity, indoor air quality, lighting, noise, crowded work space and is referred to as EPOSI which has been used to gather information about the occupants in the buildings that have been surveyed. This method of self assessment provides valuable information on individual as well as group responses. The data from the questionnaire is analyzed using the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) originated by Saaty[6]. AHP uses nine point judgement scales for use with detailed questionnaires aided by semi-structured interviews. The method is based on the theory of


Exposure, human responses and building investigations

hierarchies and is a way of structuring complex multi-dimensional systems, by analyzing the interaction between elements in each stratum of the hierarchy in terms of their impact on elements in the stratum immediately above. It is possible to have several levels of hierarchies, but in this case five have been selected beginning with productivity followed by human factors; system factors; health factors; environmental factors. The questionnaires were answered by occupants across various work grades and tasks and were designed to elicit:

• background information about the organization and the workplace • how much the environment and the job cause dissatisfaction • the feelings of the subject about their current working situation • the principle causal factors influencing health symptoms of occupants • which factors influence job satisfaction and productivity Semi-structured interviews were carried out to establish more details about attitudes and reasons behind responses.

Office survey
A detailed...
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