We all know that work-related stress can affect our health both mentally and physically. However, did you know that your office space could be partly to blame? We spend 90% of our time in buildings, and though many view their workplace as a harmless structure to house cubicles, buildings have been found to have a direct correlation to our wellbeing. Not only can offices shape our habits, they’ve also been linked to affecting our sleep-wake cycle and driving us towards unhealthy choices.
There are plenty of reasons why a poor workplace environment has companies concerned. With sleep patterns affected, inactivity on the rise, and restricted natural light, employees’ productivity decreases. This costs a business in both morale and profits. Creating an atmosphere designed to enhance occupant health and quality of life is therefore imperative for job satisfaction and economic growth.
The answer? The WELL Building Standard (WELL). Introduced in 2013, WELL focuses exclusively on human health and wellness. With the occupants’ needs at the core of design, a WELL Certified building aims to create an environment that improves the nutrition, fitness, mood, sleep patterns, and performance of its occupants.
WELL was designed by leading scientists, doctors, architects and wellness thought leaders and is based on seven categories: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind. Similar to LEED, the three levels of certification are Silver, Gold and Platinum.
Examples of WELL standards include using non-toxic materials, proper ventilation, minimal exposure to pollutants, and creating environments that are designed to stimulate activity. These initiatives combine both sustainable standards of building and peoples’ well being in order to create productive, healthy, and happy workers.
CBRE Headquarters, Los Angeles (Source: wellcertified)
And it seems to be working WELL. After the first WELL building was certified, employees at the CBRE Headquarters reported to feel 83% more productive. According to wellcertified.com, another 92% said the new space had a positive effect on their health and wellbeing.
Pearson Dogwood Project (Source: Martin Nielsen)
Building healthy communities along with sustainable structures is also a concern here in Vancouver, with the Pearson Dogwood project putting these fundamentals at the forefront of its design. Martin Nielsen, an architect, engineer, LEED AP-Partner and member of DIALOG, explained at our May Breakfast Event that this development integrates a holistic approach to the building. This includes supporting sustainable lifestyle choices, enhancing water and air quality, reducing our car dependency, and decreasing energy consumption.
WELL may be a relatively new concept, but as more studies reveal the correlation between employee health and economic growth, it’s imperative that a building’s design and structure are taken into account. To learn more about the WELL Building Standard, visit http://www.wellcertified.com.