Having a sustainable building is critical for businesses in attracting and retaining employees, the latest research has found.

Commissioned by multi-national lighting company Signify – owner of brands such as Phillips, Interact and Color Kinetics – a survey of 500 small to medium sized business owners found that occupying an environmentally sustainable premises was an expectation of customers and staff alike.

All up, 85 percent of business surveyed agreed that sustainable building design delivered greater productivity and helped to retain workers whilst 89 percent agreed that creating a positive and environmentally friendly workplace helped improve business performance.

Of firms which have adopted good environmental building practice, 36 percent, 44 percent and 43 percent believed doing so had boosted employee engagement, wellbeing and productivity respectively.

Signify spokesperson Simon O’Donnelly said the importance of good workplace environments cannot be underestimated.

“As businesses plan for next year, it’s critical they consider how forward-thinking, flexible workplace design solutions can have a real effect on increasing their employees’ satisfaction and productivity,” O’Donnelly said.

“For those businesses that are paying attention to their staff’s physical experience at work, including light, design and air quality, they are realising significant benefits, such as happier employees, improved sustainability credentials and a stronger bottom line.”

According to O’Donnelly, lighting design plays an important role in productivity, well-being and customer satisfaction – a phenomenon he says is recognised as 91 percent of participants agreed that good lighting improves customer experience.

He says a new technology known as connected human centric lighting is gaining traction.

This works by connecting in-depth knowledge of user needs with the dynamic lighting applications to improve feelings of wellbeing and performance.

It includes new approaches to reducing glare and other forms of visual discomfort along with the use of daylight to increase energy efficiency.