Given how much time we spend at work, our bodies are constantly exposed to the materials and furniture that have been installed in our office fit-outs.
The reduction of exposure to hazardous materials and ingredients is one of the aims of the WELL Building Standard® v2. WELL promotes healthy spaces that protect us from hazards, practices that can keep us well, and opportunities for us to connect with one another and live life to the fullest. This inspires our best work and our most productive selves.
Evoke Projects examines the recommendations for “Materials” under WELL v2 with recommendations for your next office fit-out or office refurbishment.
With around one third of our lives spent at work, it stands to reason that our well-being will be heavily impacted by our working environment. Evoke Projects has shared many tips on improving productivity and motivation with a new office fit-out or office refurbishment, but did you realise that our workplace can also have a dramatic impact on our mental health?
People can easily get distracted by noise within the office environment. Interior noise from speech and equipment has been shown to hinder productivity, focus, memory retention and mental arithmetic, while exterior noise from traffic and construction can be equally problematic. What can you do to create a quieter and calmer office design for your team?
If we are comfortable in our working environment, it stands to reason that we will be more motivated and productive. Interestingly, ‘comfort’ is one of the building design concepts that can be benchmarked under the WELL Building Standard®. Evoke Projects looks at what the Standard recommends to create distraction-free, productive and comfortable indoor environments during your next office fit-out or office refurbishment.
In version 1 of the WELL Standard, the ‘comfort’ considerations embrace acoustic, ergonomic, olfactory and thermal comfort. We have covered all those factors in this article, but it is worth noting that the WELL version 2 pilot breaks these up into separate concepts, so we will be revisiting this in more detail later in the year.
Most of us realise we should get more exercise. The Australian Government recommends that adults should be active most days and aim for 2 ½ – 5 hours of moderate exercise or 1¼ – 2 ½ hours of intense activity per week. It can be a challenge to fit exercise into a busy working week, so Evoke Projects looks at office design strategies to bring fitness to the office!
‘Fitness’ is one of the seven key building design concepts that can be benchmarked within the WELL Building Standard®. As 90% of our time is spent within the built environment, urban planning, building and office design strategies that encourage more physical activity or discourage sedentariness can promote a more active lifestyle.
When planning your next office fit-out or office refurbishment, you can use the suggestions below to achieve greater office wellness.
Sleep, productivity and mood are all affected by light. This is because of the human ‘circadian rhythm’, our 24-hour internal clock. In simple terms, when it is dark, our brain sends a hormone signal to make us tired, while light has the opposite effect. If our circadian rhythm is upset, we are likely to feel weary in the daytime and yet have difficulty sleeping at night.
We all know that healthy eating makes a difference to our mood, health and our energy levels. In turn, this is bound to influence workplace absenteeism, motivation and productivity, so it’s certainly worth promoting good nutrition at work. Evoke Projects looks at what your business can do to encourage healthier eating.
The International WELL Building Institute has included Nourishment as part of their ‘WELL Building Standard’, which aims to promote health and well-being through building and office design. Although most features apply to workplaces that provide food to employees through on-site canteens, there are some metrics that are generally applicable and worth considering for your next office fit-out or office refurbishment.
Staying hydrated has many health benefits. Our long, hot summer may be over, but consuming at least 2.7 litres of fluid a day from food and drink helps to maintain energy levels and brain function. Water also reduces the likelihood of headaches and muscle cramps, while helping to hydrate our skin.
If you manage an office, your staff will thank you for providing a source of good quality drinking water. It’s easy to get busy and forget to hydrate regularly, so nice tasting water will encourage everyone to drink more water. The environment will thank you too if you can get rid of some of those plastic water bottles that you probably see around you on every other desk!
Evoke Projects has been reviewing the International WELL Building Institute’s standard on water quality, and we have some tips for you to consider for your next office fit-out or office refurbishment.
Air quality is crucial to our health. Yet according to the International WELL Building Institute, air pollution is the number one environmental cause of premature mortality. It contributes to 50,000 premature deaths annually in the United States and approximately 7 million, or one in eight premature deaths worldwide.
Given how much time we all spend in offices, it pays to think about improvements that can be made to internal air quality through effective office design. If employees breathe in contaminated air, they potentially increase their risk for health problems such as asthma, allergies and other upper respiratory illnesses. Evoke Projects looks at the new WELL Building Standard and offers some tips for improving air quality during your next office fit-out or office refurbishment project.
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.