Poor office air quality can lead to 15 per cent drop in thinking

Wellbeing staged by Kirkstall Forge developer CEG. Pictured Ashley Bateson from Hoare Lea.'31st  January 2019.
Wellbeing staged by Kirkstall Forge developer CEG. Pictured Ashley Bateson from Hoare Lea.'31st January 2019.
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Failing to control air quality can reduce the quality of decision making in the office environment by as much as 15 per cent, an event was told.

An event held at the Kirkstall Forge complex in Leeds by developers CEG and The Yorkshire Post heard how maintaining optimal levels of CO2, lighting, temperature and sound would vastly improve the performance, retention and health of a workforce.

CEG, which has won multiple awards for the quality of its working environment at the 110,000 sq ft Number One Kirkstall Forge site, said that the building would set a template for ensuring high quality working conditions throughout the remainder of the development.

The event heard from Ashley Bateson, a partner at consultant engineers Hoare Lee, who carried out some of the work at Kirkstall Forge.

Mr Bateson, inset, said that even subtle changes to air quality can produce great results.

He said: “I am fascinated about how design of buildings influences health and wellbeing.

Wellbeing staged by Kirkstall Forge developer CEG. Pictured Dr Jon Finn from Tougher Minds.'31st  January 2019.

Wellbeing staged by Kirkstall Forge developer CEG. Pictured Dr Jon Finn from Tougher Minds.'31st January 2019.

“If you have an impact on staff you are having a fantastic impact on the business.”

On the issue of air quality, he said: “When CO2 levels increase you feel drowsy. When it happens subtly it can affect your strategic thinking. It can be reduced by around 10-15 per cent.

“Good air quality in a business will make a difference.

“Humidity, air quality, temperature, light and sound all impact.

“We have designed the building to be optimised for your comfort. Daylight is a primary driver for occupant satisfaction. It improves our sleep patterns, it improves happiness and improves productivity.”

Fellow speaker Dr Jon Finn from consultants Tougher Minds, said that the onus on companies to adapt to change had never been greater.

“Big business is failing faster than ever before. Companies that did not exist 15 years ago are now some of the biggest on the planet.

“Why? Because technology is changing at a faster rate than we have ever seen before and it is not slowing down.

“That means 45 per cent of what you are paid to do today can already be automated.

“If we are going to flourish in 21st century life we need to keep adapting.”

Michelle Wilkins, from car leasing giant Zenith, the anchor tenant at Kirkstall Forge, said: “Employment surveys show that wellbeing does mean something to people.

“It will make the difference between losing our existing employees and keeping them.

“In the last year, we have been able to increase our head count by 20 per cent but also reduce our [staff] turnover by 35 per cent.”

Nick Lee, development director of CEG, said: “Having a health workplace environment means healthier staff, fewer sick days and an increased productivity in the office.”