Master of Public Administration
Department or Program
Sustainability in the workplace has the potential to affect many aspects of an organization, including employee productivity. Sustainable designers, such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) professionals, claim that sustainability has numerous positive impacts in the workplace. These impacts include fewer employee sick days, increased building occupant satisfaction, and increased employee productivity. Researchers that have studied this claim have found that in many cases, sustainable initiatives and buildings have had a slight to profound positive effects on occupant satisfaction, attendance, and productivity. Lower levels of satisfaction for lighting and acoustics are common, though, because many sustainable workplaces use an open floor plan design. Most of the research has focused on the structural aspect of sustainability and indoor environmental quality and its impact on employees. There is little research on how sustainable behavior initiatives in the workplace have affected employee productivity; there is a need for this gap in research to be filled. The existing research, synthesized for this paper, gives evidence that sustainable initiatives often have high return on investment not only in saving operational costs but also in improving employee productivity. Sustainability should not just be used as a tool to increase productivity, however; it is a mindset that must be adapted and incorporated into values and strategic planning. There are several guides and case studies available to give organizations ideas on how to incorporate sustainability, however, each organization is different. Employees should be involved in sustainability planning and it should relate to the organization’s strategic plan and long-term goals.