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Factors that Affect Tenant & Occupant Satisfaction

December 18, 2013 | 2 comments

Facility systems and design can go a long way toward improving productivity, increasing satisfaction, and ensuring the health and comfort of tenants and occupants. But commercial building factors that hinder performance, cause distractions, or make tasks more difficult can do just the opposite – they negatively impact tenants’ and occupants’ well-being, happiness, and efficiency.

If your building is owner-occupied, then providing a high-performance space for occupants ultimately affects your organization’s bottom line. If you’re managing your property for tenants who lease building space, you can lose your clients if the space is working against them.

Based on market conditions in Chicago, for example, Jones Lang LaSalle estimates that it costs more to lose a tenant than it does to retain the one you’ve got, once you consider lost rent income, necessary tenant improvements, leasing commissions, etc.

These three factors can negatively affect how tenants and occupants function inside your facility; here are some ways you can address them.

Poor IAQ
According to OSHA, some experts believe that more people suffer from effects of indoor air pollution than from outdoor air pollution. Poor IAQ can cause asthma, coughing, congestion, sneezing, etc. The reason for poor IAQ isn’t always obvious, and can be caused by several factors: lack of maintenance, poor building envelope design, improperly operated HVAC systems, mold, off gassing, or cleaning anddisinfecting products. Most IAQ complaints, according to OSHA, are associated with building design flaws or lack of plumbing, HVAC, and building envelope system maintenance. If you receive a complaint, you can start by:

  • Inspecting the building envelope
  • Validating that the building is maintained under a slight positive pressure
  • Verifying temperature and humidity levels (68 to 78 degrees F. and 30% to 60%, respectively)
  • Confirming that HVAC system maintenance is being performed

Uncomfortable Temperatures
Being too hot or cold is distracting, no matter what type of work you’re doing. To avoid fans or space heaters entering the workplace as tenants and occupants try to remedy the situation themselves, check temperature, humidity, and airflow to make sure they’re within standards (these checks can also confirm that HVAC systems function like they should). Changing air filters can also help, along with eliminating sources of radiant heat (such as printers and copiers). Low-e window film is another way to improve tenant and occupant comfort – even for those who sit near windows. In warmer months, it reduces solar heat gain and keeps heat from entering the conditioned space, improving comfort and reducing utility bills. During cooler months, low-e window film keeps radiant heat inside.

Inadequate Lighting
Poor lighting can cause slip-and-fall incidents, trigger visual strain, and affect work quality. If you notice flickering, poorly distributed light, too much or too little light, or glare, then it’s time to re-evaluate your building’s lighting system. In many cases, lighting systems don’t need to be completely replaced or upgraded. Using task lighting, de-lamping when possible, and simply cleaning fixtures and lamps can make a noticeable difference.

Which building factors do you focus on to ensure productivity and satisfaction for tenants and occupants?



  1. David W. Bearg, P.E.
    December 20, 2013

    It’s interesting that the importance of IAQ is mentioned, but doesn’t go so far as mentioning the importance of making sure that adequate, or even generous, ventilation is provided at all times.

  2. Vista
    December 27, 2013

    David, thanks for letting us know. Excellent point … ventilation is key to IAQ!

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