Offering longer life to employees

  • Posted in Default
  • By Pan Chaoyang
  • Date January 28th, 2016 07:08
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  • Our health analytics for 2015 are out and the results are nothing short of staggering. They will forever change where you choose to work.

    The largest health gains are with the likes of Lendlease, Tishman Speyer, Haworth, Glumac and Perkins + Will - having been some of the first to implement healthy building standards and track results. In 2015, staff working within these offices have gained an average of 6.3, 5.3, 4.9, 4.2 and 3.5 days of life respectively.

    These numbers are even more eye-opening when projected over the entire year. For example, Perkins+Will's office and Haworth Shanghai’s new showroom have only been operational and tracking data since March 2015. Had they started in January of the same year they would have given 5.4 and 6.7 days of life to their employees, while Haworth's Beijing Showroom would have contributed a staggering 10.2 days over a full year. Other offices that stand out include PureLiving, Interface and MMoser who's measured and projected figures are 3.0 (4.6), 2.7 (4.2) and 2.4 (4.3) days of life gained per person.

    Stop for a moment and let those figures sink in: staff working for Lendlease in 2015 could be living on average 6.3 days longer than if they had worked elsewhere. In fact, their Shanghai office has better air quality than what would typically be found in New York, L.A., or Singapore. That is inspirational.

    These numbers are derived from continuous real-time tracking of indoor air quality data across multiple parameters. All projects followed the RESET standard in terms of defining the required performance of monitors, location of installation, calibration etc. with the data being collected and analyzed within the QLEAR cloud. There, the data was run through an algorithm based on medical research conducted in Beijing - correlating the impact of PM2.5 on human health over a 4 year period [1]. Although the algorithm was tested on dozens of projects within the QLEAR cloud, only those participating in the RESET program were included in the final review. The reason is simple: many projects achieve excellent PM2.5 results at the expense of other critical parameters, such as CO2 and TVOC. Although the health impact of CO2 and TVOC have not been factored in yet, only projects who met health standards across these parameters were included in the study, thereby ensuring that the net gain from the reduction in PM2.5 was not countered by ill effects from other parameters.

    By all accounts, these figures are conservative. As mentioned above they do not yet factor in CO2, TVOC and other influencing factors such as light. This is already in the works. However, the numbers are already significant enough to change how we view our workspaces: offices are not passive, but rather active living systems that can take away from our health or add to it.

    We often think or our bodies as temples but we are now beginning to understand that our 'temples' should be seen as living systems.

    As a consequence, gone are the days in which employees choose workplaces based on salary alone. Now, choices are made on a cocktail of factors, most prominent of which is health and safety as well as quality of life. Reuters recently reported on employees taking jobs that provided healthy workspaces over those that provided a potentially higher salary [2].

    There are currently 100 people working within the Lendlease office. At an average of 6.3 days of life gained for each person, the total gain for the office is just over 1.7 years of life - achieved in just one year. Similar numbers could be derived for Tishman Speyer's The Springs which impacts hundreds more people, or Dulwich College Suzhou, positively affecting children at a critical stage in their development.

    Bringing it back to numbers, Lendlease's potential 1.7 year gain from just one year of work translates into a 70% ROI on life - a metric so transformative we can only begin to imagine the impact it will have on the workspace of the future.

    [1] Primary resource: British Medical Journal, BMJ 2013;347:f7139
         Supporting resource: 2013 Apr;54:100-11. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2013.01.010. Epub 2013 Feb 19.
         Supporting resource: Schwela D., Air pollution and health in urban areas, 2000 Jan-Jun;15(1-2):13-42.
         Supporting resource: Greenpeace, Global Burden of Disease, and the US South Coast
    Air Quality Management District,

    [2] More than money: Employees in China demand cleaner office air. Reuters. December 2015. (

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