August – Comfort
One of the most important values in American culture is comfort. From the time that we’re born in the hospital and wrapped in blankets and placed on a soft mattress in a climate-controlled room, we expect to be comfortable. Except for the homeless, almost all Americans live in homes that are climate-controlled.
One of the seven central aspects of the WELL Building Rating System is Comfort. It’s important that we look for ways to redefine comfort in a built environment that honors and reflects our relationship with the natural world, while inspiring our best work to preserve and celebrate it. As such, we surveyed our employees to learn more about their comfort levels regarding different aspects of our offices.
• The greatest impact on employees’ ability to work is from thermal comfort and acoustic quality, according to the survey.
• Daylight, visual comfort, air quality, and connection with outdoors are generally in the satisfactory range per survey.
• Temperature and noise are the most frequently cited causes of employee dissatisfaction.
Survey responses to personal thermal comfort devices was largely neutral.
• Consider pink noise machines to increase acoustic comfort in open office areas, as implemented at Denver office.
• Create small spaces where employees can take calls that would need more acoustic privacy.
• Consider adding acoustic panels in some places in our workspaces
• Encourage adaptive comfort in offices through flexibility in clothing policies.
• Create a cool/hot zone in a portion of an office where staff can take their laptops and work in case they are feeling hotter/colder than the typical employee.
• Use personal thermal comfort devices or hyper-chairs.