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New Survey Reveals Increased Expectations for Healthier Workplaces

March 29, 2023
Honeywell’s third annual Healthy Buildings Survey focused on buildings’ impact on both occupant well-being and the environment.
The findings of Honeywell’s third annual Healthy Buildings Survey have underscored two of the most important issues in the workplace: human health and wellness and sustainability. Employees have expressed their deep concern over these issues, with more than two in five (43%) surveyed office workers are very or extremely worried about their building’s indoor air quality (IAQ), according to the recently issued report. The survey recently queried 2,500 office workers in buildings with 500-plus workers in Germany, India, the Middle East, the United Kingdom and the United States.

While nearly three in four respondents (74%) express some degree of worry about their workplace’s IAQ, 43% of those surveyed say they’re very or extremely worried–a seven-point increase over last year’s results. This year’s survey also posed questions on sustainability, which disclosed that 38% of respondents feel their employer should be prioritizing both better IAQ and reducing the carbon footprint for their building, compared to 40% of respondents who say better IAQ should be prioritized or 22% of respondents who say to prioritize reducing the building’s carbon footprint. Overall, a compelling 91% of respondents say they would sacrifice a job perk or benefit and 26% of those say they would sacrifice part of their salary or bonus if the funds were invested in reducing the environmental impact of their building.

[Related: Designing Inclusive Healthcare Spaces to Support Neurodiverse Populations]

The report provides comparisons across the five markets, including the following highlights:

  • More than nine in 10 (93%) say they have higher expectations for IAQ in their workplace than they did three years ago.
  • Nearly all respondents (97%) believe good IAQ improves their productivity, including 68% who say it contributes a lot.
  • Nearly all surveyed (99%) agree that safe IAQ promotes at least one health-related benefit, including better overall physical health (59%), better overall mental health (56%), fewer allergic reactions such as sneezing and coughing (51%) and fewer airborne contaminants (46%).
  • Most respondents (86%) feel their employers have responsibility for IAQ – and that limiting investment in IAQ technology shows a low commitment to employee safety and well-being.
  • Surveyed workers are nearly unanimous (97%) in saying they would take action if their employer didn’t make an effort to maintain a healthy indoor environment: 57% would speak with their supervisor or leadership; 36% would rally fellow workers and collectively raise the issue; 34% would ask to work remotely; and more than one in five (21%) would look for another job.
  • While 40% of respondents across all markets say their employer should prioritize improving IAQ over reducing their building’s carbon footprint, 22% want employers to prioritize the latter.
  • More than nine in 10 surveyed workers (91%) would forego job perks if the cost were reinvested in reducing their workplace’s environmental impact; 40% would give up building amenities such as fitness centers or lounges; 34% would part with state-of-the-art tech for their day-to-day work; and a third (33%) would give up free parking or public transit subsidies.

“These findings show a considerable percentage of workers want a workplace that offers better indoor air quality and has less of an impact on the environment,” said Manish Sharma, vice president and general manager of Sustainable Buildings at Honeywell. “Building owners, operators and organizations should take notice: occupants who are more aware of the impact a building can have on both their well-being and the environment will likely expect change. The good news is these goals are not mutually exclusive and ready now solutions exist to help make this a reality.”

To read the full report, click here.

Read next: Health by Design: A Prescription for Creating Healthier Environments for Occupants

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