Architect Swanke Hayden Connell has been signed up by the British Council for Offices to work out if there is a causal link between office design and business productivity.
The BCO has appointed the international firm to lead the project, which will result this autumn in the publication of Post Occupancy Evaluation, the BCO's third set of benchmarks.
Richard Kauntze, BCO chief executive, said: "The fundamental question for us is to establish the relationship between the nature of the office and the efficiency of the people who work in it.
"In terms of business costs, about 85% of expense goes on staff and 15% goes on buildings. How these offices are designed, constructed and managed really matters. Most businesses don't get that and they should."
Kauntze said the report would be aimed at occupiers who need to evaluate the productivity of their buildings, but would also have implications for architects and consultants involved in constructing and fitting out workplaces.
How these offices are designed, constructed and managed really matters. Most businesses don’t get that and they should
Richard Kauntze, BCO chief executive
The benchmarks will build on a recent BCO survey of office spaces and productivity, which showed that office workers believed the quality of their working environment accounted for 24% of job satisfaction.
The survey showed how key design factors, such as lighting and daylighting, have been linked to a 15% reduction in absenteeism and increases of between 2.8% and 20% in productivity.
The survey also revealed that one-third of those questioned said they would be embarrassed to bring colleagues or clients back to their offices and fewer than half thought their offices had been designed with the staff in mind.