After a long time away from the office, employees are now ready to return to work. Over a third of workers want to return to the office full-time, with the remaining majority opting for a hybrid approach. CEOs, government officials and companies such as Google have started to encourage employees to return to the office to encourage greater in-person collaboration and connection.
As people have grown accustomed to working from home, there is a greater need to provide an appealing workspace that is designed to accommodate a new type of workforce. Employees are eager to see organisations put a greater emphasis on wellbeing according to a recent McKinsey study and so there will be an increasing pressure on landlords and business owners to facilitate such an office environment that is centered around this. That’s why it’s no surprise that office spaces that meet certain wellbeing standards are in high demand.
An Office Centered Around Wellbeing
The public health crisis has ushered in a new era of health measures, technology, and design to the office environment. But beyond installing Covid-19 compliant health measures, you can offer a full suite of improvements to your tenant’s office design that will enhance employee’s health and wellbeing. Whether you are at the design and fit-out stage or require a Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) for an existing space, you can review and improve the wellbeing parameters via several assessments. When you take a deeper consideration into things like thermal comfort, lighting, and air quality, you’ll not only improve employee wellbeing, but also productivity and engagement in the workplace for your clients.
Thermal Comfort – This is ranked as one of the highest contributing factors to influencing overall human satisfaction in buildings. By creating an environment where thermal comfort can be managed efficiently, you can offer occupants the best opportunity to increase their productivity as employees return to work.
Lighting – Light exposure can have a significant impact on mood and concentration in the workplace. Ensuring there are sufficient natural and artificial light levels is a key part in occupants wellbeing and therefore should be an important focus area in building design.
Air Quality – Throughout the pandemic we’ve seen how important it is to improve the air quality of our surroundings. With people returning to an office environment, it’s now integral to offer a space that promotes clean air and minimises exposure to harmful contaminants.
There are other factors to consider with your office space including water quality, acoustic comfort, and promoting movement via access to physical activities. It is not one aspect that will support employee wellbeing but the combination of these improvements that will allow for a successful return to work. As businesses continue to search for offices that meet these criteria, landlords want to demonstrate the value of their buildings and verify their efforts made in improving occupant wellbeing.
WELL certification is becoming an increasingly popular option amongst landlords to verify a buildings wellbeing standard. As a globally recognised accreditation, it ensures that a thorough and robust analysis has been undertaken and that your building has been third-party verified as a healthy environment for occupants to thrive in. In a recent case study, 90% of respondents admitted that the way a workplace is designed affects their productivity. The same study found that once a WELL certification had been implemented, 83% of people said they are more productive, 92% of tenants said the new space created a positive effect on their health, and 94% said the new space created a positive effect on the business performance. Getting that seal of approval from an external verifier puts you in a strong position to attract high profile organisations that prioritise their employees’ health and wellbeing.
Joanna Peacock, Associate at Eight Associates
Joanna is an Associate at Eight Associates and leads the health and wellbeing consultancy across all sectors of the built environment, particularly in relation to the WELL Building Standard, WELL Performance Verification and Indoor Environmental Quality testing.