In the last several years, we have seen the building conversation change to: “How does a building affect people’s health and productivity?”
Today, building owners, operators, occupants and tenants are all looking for work environments that embrace technology to enable collaborative, healthy and comfortable working experiences. This includes the “wellness of the workplace”.
Construction Dive, “Wellness” reports, buildings are supposed to improve human health and quality of life. Everything from natural light to air and water quality to open office layouts can be considered a part of the movement to make buildings healthier for the people who live and work in them.
Wellness and productivity are significant considerations for businesses, as staff costs typically make up 50% - 85% of the budget. When office conditions (poor indoor air quality, thermal discomfort, poor lighting, etc.) negatively affect productivity and employee health, the economic impact for the company is significant.
It is being said that the health and well-being of a building’s occupants isn’t just the responsibility of human resources anymore. Owners, operators, and facility managers are beginning to play an important role in making sure the people who work in our buildings are happy, healthy and productive.
So what things comprise building wellness? While many are obvious such as overall comfort, air quality (ventilation and circulation), temperature and lighting; there are also other components that sometimes may not be a part of this discussion. These include water, sound/acoustic, color and general office ambiance. And I am sure you can add more!
If we examine the drivers helping to push building wellness, I believe there is a general reset of workplace expectations. Today, workers expect more from their workplace environment. We are seeing increased value propositions towards more occupant-centered design and new standards that impact people’s health and well-being. More commercial building developers and owners are being asked to keep up with technological advances to increase occupant’s overall health and wellness.
There’s no question that building wellness can generate value such as savings in personnel costs, reduced sick days, increased productivity, increased building asset value and greater marketability.
While we are beginning to see more information on well-being points and how they are impacting the built environment, we still have some way to go. We are still defining how to achieve building wellness and provide more proof of ROI, data and metrics to occupants and building owners alike. While more business cases are required to be made, the building wellness movement is gaining momentum.