Productivity, GreenTech and the Emotional Connection

July 31, 2013
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Boston Properties' Atlantic Wharf building is not only LEED-Platinum certified and energy-efficient, it seeks to connect its tenants' workers for greater productivity.

Boston Properties’ Atlantic Wharf building is not only LEED-Platinum certified and energy-efficient, it seeks to connect its tenants’ workers for greater productivity.

We’ve covered how energy efficiency can improve economic and business productivity in this blog—and that’s a very powerful, reasoned argument. We know that in business today, productivity is everything. It’s the grail. If you can improve productivity, businesses are all over it.

But the way and manner in which we communicate also has a huge impact on productivity—and this could have implications for selling green tech.

Building designers are starting to design work spaces with this in mind. Watch this video of MIT Media Lab professor Sandy Pentland explaining how productivity in the workplace can be improved by how we communicate.

 

Click on the image to see the video.

Click on the image to see the video.

“The pattern of communication is the most important thing in productivity in workplace,” he says. “Communication patterns determine performance.”

Energy, engagement and exploration account for 50 percent of the variation of our work performance, he says. In other words, energy predicts higher engagement. The more you talk with people, the more you increase productivity. And high explorers, those who venture outside of their groups to network, get more ideas. The greater diversity of communication, Pentland explains, gives people a chance for a broader perspective. They get new information and have a chance to act on it before others.

Open spaces near windows and gathering places save on lighting costs and energy, make for happier workers and increase the chance of serendipitous meetings. Photo courtesy of Boston Properties, Atlantic Wharf

Open spaces near windows and gathering places save on lighting costs and energy, make for happier workers and increase the chance of serendipitous, productive meetings.
Photo courtesy of Boston Properties, Atlantic Wharf

There’s nothing really new here in terms of networking, but office and workspaces are now being designed by firms like Boston Properties, which is hot on this trail, to open more of these productive communication avenues for businesses.

Here’s the kicker: How, where, and whom you say something to is just as important as what you say, Pentland says.

As a writer, I find this statement a bit disturbing. But I also recognize that we are in a time when it is true. It’s about the visual signals we send to each other. The content—the well thought-out, reasoned argument—is not as important as how it is said.

You need an emotional connection, whether it’s a space, a place, an image, a video, a way to show cool LED lighting and change the colors. Create a Wow factor, a cool bridge, something that leaves an emotional trail that resonates when it’s time for reason’s cross-examination.

Perhaps green tech and energy efficiency companies can do this. After all, we are vying for the same business and work productivity pie. These systems can make businesses more productive, more competitive and give them an edge by saving energy that they can use elsewhere.

We just need to create an emotional attachment to that.

You may also like:

Making the Emotional Connection for Sustainability, Efficiency

Smart Energy – The Evolution of Green Tech (interview)

Go Ahead, Sweat the Small Stuff

Don’t ‘Educate’; Make Energy Savings Visible

The Middle Way of Energy Efficiency

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