WELL was created by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBITM) as the Gold Standard for office design. Green Business Certification Inc also endorses it.
What is WELL?
The WELL standard concentrates on seven concepts on how a building functions: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort, and Mind. Whether you plan to go for WELL certification of not, your company can still choose to incorporate these concepts to produce a healthier office.
Why Should You Incorporate WELL?
There have been many trends offered by Office Designers that have come and gone over recent years, but one factor has remained constant throughout. This factor is the impact of office design on the health and wellbeing of employees.
The quality of air contained in an office can have a significant effect on your employee’s health. This program has a direct effect on productivity. Recent research by the World Green Building Council showed productivity increases by 11%. Air quality can be impacted by including some or all of the following policies.
- Introducing a No smoking policy (where laws still permit smoking).
- Develop Green cleaning products and reduce clutter.
- Maintain healthy levels of moisture in the air.
- Installation of air filtration systems.
- Add some office plants.
- Open Windows.
Maybe you are not aware, but our brains comprise 70% water. If staff consume more water, they will enjoy an improved quality of sleep and increased energy levels. It also has a direct effect on the Ability to focus, Clarity of mind, Increased awareness, and Increased alertness. Here are some suggested ways of increasing staff water consumption.
- Ensure that there is a supply of safe drinking water.
- Include a water cooler in your office design.
- Explain to employees about the benefits of water.
- Host water challenges.
The food that your employees consume in the day affects staff performance. You may know the expression, “You are what you eat,” and this is particularly true in this context. By encouraging your staff to eat more nutritious foods, you will have a healthier team. Here are some methods for improving the nutrition of your organization.
- Improve the availability of fresh fruit and vegetable
- Limit access to processed foods
- Ensure foods are labeled correctly, so food allergies are catered for
- Improve access to handwashing facilities
- Inform staff about nutrition availability
- promote healthy foods
- Create dedicated eating spaces
Research by The Dept of Design and Environmental Analysis (at Cornell) re[ported that employees that were working within 10 ft of a window had an 84% decrease in eyestrain, blurred vision, and headaches. Here are some ways to improve your office lighting:
- Skylights if possible.
- Reduce glare.
- Get the most natural lighting you can.
- relocate bulky items of furniture that block light.
- Replace flickering lights.
- Use a variety of lighting according to the location: functional or ambient.
Sitting all day is very bad for our bodies. Our bodies were created to be moving, and an office is alien to how we were designed.
Employees who have a more active lifestyle are generally more productive. Exercise boosts the flow of blood to our brain. After a workout, employees get a surge of energy and alertness. This exercise helps with concentration and making decisions.
Here are some ways to encourage movement in your office.
- Open and accessible stairs
- Shower facilities
- Storage for bicycles
- Adjustable workstations
- Space to get some physical movement
Correct ergonomics will reduce muscle fatigue and increase productivity. Here are some ways of helping”
- Ergonomically designed work areas
- Ability to switch from seated to a standing position while working
- Limit building sounds
- Create breakout areas
Creating both breakout spaces and social space is reported to produce a 6% increase in productivity and 15% more creativity. Here are some improvements you can make:
- Create collaborative spaces
- Create social spaces
- Add greenery
- Offer flexibility in how and where employees work.
You do not have to implement all of these options. They are simply some ideas which, if fully implemented, would bring your office up to WELL standards. Choose the options that you find to fit your business as each suggestion will make improvements by themselves.