I work for Plantronics, but I don’t get to sit in their nice offices. Being a contract employee, I work from home most of the time, and thanks to Plantronics products I am able to communicate just fine, but sometimes I miss the office environment. I recently went for a visit and walked through the main offices to have a glimpse at how the building has change over the years. I interned years ago, but it looks nothing like it did then, it has changed a lot, like me. Where I have maybe put on some weight and grew a pathetic excuse for a mustache, the main building in Santa Cruz has become a beautiful example of what open workspaces are all about. Natural lighting fills the room from skylights, solar panels cover the rooftops, and there are rarely cubicles in site. They have spared no expense when it comes to making a comfortable working environment, and that reflects in the quality of work shown from their employees.
Examiner.com released an article on Plantronics praising CEO Ken Kannappan, mainly for his vision that has lead the company. The upgrades, making it truly a “smarter office,” have placed Plantronics among the top 10 greenest companies, alongside Dell, Google, Intel, and several others. You can see the full list here. With the solar panels they have installed the building is at 80% solar efficiency, saving tremendous amounts in energy bills. That’s not the only way they are saving though. The skylights allow natural light to come into the building, removing the need for overhead office lights on clear days. Natural light also helps with employees moods, and promotes a healthier workplace.
Creating green buildings has been a practice of environmental conscious organizations all around the globe. The design called “daylighting” is the practice of utilizing natural light within a building. It a difficult balance to obtain, especially in an office environment. You want to allow in enough light to brighten the room, but not too much to cause glare. Windows and skylights have to be positioned perfectly to be effective, and architects and engineers must keep heat and cooling in mind. Some companies use “sun tunnels” like the ones made by Velux. These pick up light from all angles and direct it into the room.
So if you are wondering what your office is missing, you need to doing more than look up. “Daylighting” may just be you answer. Improve your employee’s morale, lessen your energy bills, and help the environment all in one swoop.