Designing Offices for Wellness
Companies are increasingly focusing on the well-being of employees, recognising that people who are healthy and passionate about a company will be more motivated to perform well. Considering that humans can represent up to 90% of the cost of doing business, it makes economic sense too.
Buildings have a vital role to play in employee wellness. In fact, you’ve probably heard of the term ‘sick building syndrome’, which refers to illness or malaise caused by an unhealthy workplace. The International WELL Building Institute is leading the charge towards buildings that advance health and well-being, and Evoke Projects has been analysing their concepts in relation to office design.
Holistic approach to office design
Designing an office building for wellness means taking a holistic approach to the workplace environment. The office design shouldn’t just look good, but it should also consider all aspects of the built environment that contribute to a person’s health and well-being.
The International WELL Building Institute has identified seven key building design concepts that can be benchmarked:
Future Evoke Project articles will examine each of these concepts in more detail, but essentially, if all these factors are optimised through the office design and fit-out, you can expect lower absenteeism, better employee retention and higher productivity.
A new standard for building wellness
The drive for healthier buildings has also resulted in a new global standard. In October 2014, after six years of research and development, the International WELL Building Institute launched the ‘WELL Building Standard’, to promote health and well-being through building and office design. Based on scientific research, companies can have workplaces tested against the benchmarks for air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind wellness. Those that meet the standard earn the ‘WELL’ certification.
Attract and retain staff through a healthy office design
Applying standards to the relationship between buildings and people is the next logical step for companies that want to attract and retain the best staff. Quite simply, healthy buildings with office designs that put people first will impress current and future employees. Just as ‘green’ buildings became preferred places to work, WELL certified office designs look set to be a priority shopping list item for high calibre job seekers. Evoke Projects can help you ensure your next office fit-out is in line with the standard. Even if you are not ready to commit to WELL certification yet, small positive changes during office refurbishments will stand you in good stead for the future.
A new office fit-out can lead to lower absenteeism and higher productivity
A person’s health will influence them 24/7 at work and at home. Health covers mental as well as physical health, with anxiety, depression and stress contributing to absenteeism. In fact, depression is now the leading cause of absenteeism in the United States, and we know from Beyond Blue in Australia that around three million Australians are living with depression, so it will be having a significant impact here too.
When you consider that lost productivity, due largely to absenteeism, is costing Australian businesses around $11 billion every year, according to new data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), any investment in wellness building designs, office fit-outs and office refurbishments makes good sense.
To find out more about designing your office for better health and well-being, taking into account air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind wellness, please call Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692.