The impact of the ambient environment and building configuration on occupant productivity in open-plan commercial offices

Mark Mulville, Nicola Callaghan, David Isaac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


This paper sets out to understand the impact of the ambient environment on perceived comfort, health, wellbeing and by extension productivity in the workplace.

The research combined an occupant survey considering satisfaction with the ambient environment, health and wellbeing and workplace behaviour with the monitoring of ambient environmental conditions.

The paper demonstrates that the ambient environment can have a significant impact on occupant comfort, health and wellbeing, which in turn has implications for built asset performance. Within the ambient environmental factors considered, a hierarchy may exist with noise being of particular importance. Occupant behaviour within the workplace was also found to be influential.

Research limitations/implications
The research was limited to a single commercial office building, and a wider range of case studies would therefore be of benefit. The research was also limited to the summer months.

Practical implications
The findings show that an active approach to asset management is required, by continuously monitoring internal environment and engaging with occupants. This must carefully consider how ambient environmental factors and workplace behaviour impact upon occupants’ comfort, health and wellbeing to ensure the performance of the built asset is maximised.

This paper demonstrates that both occupiers’ workplace behaviour and ambient environmental conditions can have an impact on occupant comfort, health, wellbeing and productivity. The paper strengthens the case for the active management of the workplace environment through environmental monitoring and behaviour change campaigns supported by corresponding changes to workplace culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-193
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Corporate Real Estate
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2016


  • behaviour
  • health
  • productivity
  • wellbeing
  • asset management
  • comfort


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