Environmental Auditing: Modelling Office Workplace Ecology

  • Abdallah Al-Khawaja

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Climate change is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world today. Australians will also be affected by the phenomenon, especially those residing in coastal areas, where most of our capital cities are located. As we know in the last three decades of the Twentieth Century we have seen, and will continue to see, a growing interest in ecology and increasing attention in the protection of the environment. This interest can be translated into the built environment and the ecology of the workplace. This thesis makes the case for workplace ecology and builds a unique framework based on the principles of environmental auditing in the context of organisation, space and technology provision. This framework highlights the relationship between organisation, space and technology domains via the quantification of workforce satisfaction, comfort and productivity respectively, and will assist in measuring the success of business enterprise to create ‘healthy’ work environments for their people. The assessment of workplace ecology in this thesis is achieved by using a structured survey of participants in the workplace, at all levels of responsibility, to determine an overall consensus of satisfaction, comfort and productivity specific to an individual in the context of their job responsibility and its inherent complexity. An analysis of the findings indicates that besides building typology and standard there are other important factors influencing workplace ecology. This research makes a significant contribution to the iv current body of literature by demonstrating the nature and strength of relationships as well as a means of assessing overall workplace performance as an arithmetic mean of individual perception. The connection between satisfaction and comfort can be alternatively defined as ‘happiness’, the connection between satisfaction and productivity as ‘empowerment’, and the connection between comfort and productivity as ‘efficiency’. Overall there is a suggestion that the relationship between comfort and satisfaction and between comfort and productivity are of moderate strength, positive and significant, adding weight to common arguments like “successful green buildings lead to happier and more productive workers”. However, in this research the green case study was out-performed by all of the non-green case studies for virtually all of the key factors examined. The reasons behind this outcome need to be further explored. Workplace ecology, just like environmental ecology, is a balance of factors that contribute to the sustainability of an ‘eco-system’ that is fundamental to corporate success and continuous improvement. This research develops a 5star rating system for office workplaces based on an environmental audit procedure integrating organisational, spatial and technological attributes into a novel workplace ecology model.
Date of Award10 Oct 2015
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorCraig Ashley Langston (Supervisor), Brian Purdey (Supervisor) & J. Jorge Ochoa (Supervisor)

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