Many stories in terms of economic activities and social life have been said and still being reported about Lagos, the Nigeria’s largest commercial city. As the cities in the country prepare for another decade, the activities and lifestyle of the people in Lagos will continue to be debated by the locals and foreigners because the city seems to be a place for more success attainment considering its growing population and enabling social amenities.
Already, the city has had and still having a steady influx of people from neighbouring states in the south west region and states in the south-south, south-east, north-west and north-central regions. By 2035, the population is expected to reach 28.5 million people from its present 21 million. In the same year, the state’s Gross Domestic Product is projected to grow by 4.5 percent. This figure has been described as being rested significantly above the current global average of 2.9 percent.
These and other factors such as continuous infrastructural upgrade remain attracted factors. Over the last decade, a significant number of qualified graduates and people with specific skills have been attracted to the city with the intent of getting formal and informal jobs, which have contributed to the increase in office construction on the Lagos Island and Mainland areas of the state. In the Mainland area, shophouses are also springing up every day. This is similar to what exist in Singapore, where commercial cities are having at least one shophouse apart from the formal offices.
Lagos Office and Changing Workers’ Needs
Whether on the Island or the Mainland, Lagos offices are designed to suit different purposes. Some offices are designed for corporate activities. Some are designed to enable workers and others to engage in social activities. In both situations, the designs and spaces must meet the users’ needs every time. This is imperative because there is a strong relationship between buildings and users. Since 2015 that the world leaders agreed on a new global goals and targets, working people have been clamouring for greener and healthier office buildings, especially in developing countries where the adoption of green features for building construction and maintenance remain low.
This has once again emphasised the place of greener and healthier building on health, wellbeing and productivity in the workplace. This emphasis will linger on in Lagos as the state continues to receive intermittent rankings on indexes that focus on sustainable living. Three years after the new goals and targets, the city recorded lowest score in Stability Index despite all efforts and capital injection into infrastructure upgrade and construction.
Like previous analyses done by the academics and industry experts, this article emanates from a recent research conducted about the level of satisfaction of Lagos workers on the facilities and their office building. Lagos Island was the setting of the study and carried out in August, 2019. Among other questions posed to the workers, we gleaned that there are accepters and rejecters of the building. With this result and the modeling of other variables, we described the two classifications as the logic of satisfaction. According our data, workers are being logical in expressing their satisfaction about the building and facilities therein within true or false criterion. The satisfaction expression is largely explained by the national norms and values.
National Norms, Satisfaction and Productivity
When the workers were asked to expatiate the true or false criterion, the data show significant movement towards very satisfied and satisfied. Those within the very satisfied were tagged promoters of the FM service quality and quantity provisions. Workers who tilted towards satisfied were better seen as rejecters. These are the workers who have ‘high level of subjectivity’ while reacting to FM services offered by the in-house FM team or FM service providers. They are the detractors of FM service quality and quantity provisions.
As pointed out earlier, the logic of satisfaction of Lagos workers about office building and facilities maintenance is being driven by norms and values Nigeria has been known for. Workers within satisfied are rejecters because they are being decisive and assertive in their reaction, while accepters, having used the building and the facilities therein, have seen quick results during the period of using the building and the facilities. The rejecters should be seen as the category of workers who are mostly meeting facilities in bad situations after serviced or maintained by the FM team. This led to expressing their satisfaction within the satisfied and false scales. The accepters fall to the opposite. They met the facilities in good conditions. This mainly explained their choice of very satisfied and true scales.
Beyond the examination of the workers about restroom, reception, boardroom, canteen, training room and accessibility of the public transport to the office, we explored the impacts of lightening, nose, temperature and space and air quality on their health and productivity. On the productivity, analysis shows that temperature impacted productivity more than quality of air, distraction of noise and quality of space provided. Quality of light had least impact on the workers’ productivity during the study period. In spite of the low effect of the air quality on productivity, the workers reported high impact on their health status followed by temperature and noise.
The extreme impact of the air quality is an indication that the sampled office did not have low concentrations of CO2 and pollutants, and high ventilation rates during the month of the study. This has equally established the dangerous situation many workers are while working in urban areas in Nigeria. An information has it that whether indoor or outdoor, air pollution is killing more residents today than ever before. Our data show that the studied workers experience eyestrain, mental fatigue irritation, eye irritation, headache and nose irritation. These are the common symptoms linked to exposure to pollutants.
To establish the extent to which people care about their life in Lagos, we did a simple analysis of the public interest in air pollution and indoor air quality on the basis that the sampled workers sought knowledge about their conditions using the Internet. Analysis indicates that public (assumed to include the studied workers) had more interest in air pollution than indoor air quality. Checks also reveal that on Lagos Island, from August 1 to 31, 2019, the average temperature was 790 F, humidity was 85%. On August 17 around 2pm, the temperature was high at 88 degree and low at 73 degree on August 1, on August 1, the humidity was high at 100% and low at 62% on August 17, 2019.
In an office where noise distracts workers often, the productivity level would dip, while health status would not be spared. This was also found as a major contributor to the workers’ logic of satisfaction. Though the workers reported the minimal effect of lightening on them, it is essential for the FM managers to always provide appropriate blinds or shutters for blocking out natural light in an office building when the situation calls for it. This is largely due to the fact that only 22.20% of 36 workers reported that the blinds or shutters are effective. Having appropriate blinds or shutters is further reinforced when we found that norms associated with the level of satisfaction accounted for 44% of seeing the provided blinds or shutters as effective. “Where the benefits of fresh air and good thermal comfort can be provided by natural ventilation and passive design (or mixed mode systems), there is a clear win-win for occupier and energy use.”
Our data show that 61.10% of the workers had full control over air ventilation in the office building, while 50.00% had slight control over artificial lighting in the building. It would not be a bad idea when workers are in control of both air ventilation and artificial lightning. Personal control over indoor environment is a strategic means of increasing level of satisfaction, productivity and energy performance.
Looking at the insights, companies and Facilities Managers have a number of actions to take towards making office building sustainable for the users. Companies need to incorporate green features in building and maintaining offices. A structure and application of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient. Improving fresh air in offices means companies must always use green products to maintain facilities. The narrative that green practices increase spending should be countered based on the fact that green buildings and facilities are more beneficial than conventional practices.
Being green in practices and solutions has the highest propensity of converting the rejecters into promoters, occupants who could become influential marketers of the FM providers and in-house team having experienced better building and facilities. An occupant’s willingness to recommend result from how well FM providers managed his or her company’s facilities, especially the critical ones. On-site Facilities Managers and Account Managers (Business Development Executives) need to pay specific attention to this because there is a low connection (7.1%) between workers seeing Facilities Managers’ maintenance of office building to operate at satisfactory that enhances physical and psychological comforts, and norms associated with satisfaction level.