Wellness in the Workplace

Influencing the health of employees is rapidly becoming a primary focus of many companies when designing their workplaces, and also when refurbishing. Following years of research and input from the medical, scientific and real estate communities, WELL certification from the International WELL Building Institute is aimed at advancing “buildings that help people work, live, perform and feel their best”.

The introduction of new standards from the International WELL Building Institute regarding air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind, are aimed at greater productivity and job satisfaction. As well as increasing awareness of employee wellness, and avoiding ailments such as back pain and stress disorders, businesses looking to attract and retain good talent are viewing their workplaces as physical spaces that can differentiate from other employers.

The provision of natural light and air filtration systems, encouraging fitness and having better water quality, are just some of the ways in which improvements can be made. Whilst firms who invest in space at early stages such as design and construction have the benefit of a “blank canvas” on which they can tailor the space to their employees’ needs, existing premises can also have positive modifications made.

Some firms who have made imaginative changes to their office spaces include Barclays, which offers spinning classes at many of its offices in soundproofed pods situated within the main office space; Unilever who have areas such as their “Connection Bridge” where employees can get comfortable and have conversations; Google, which at its Silicon Valley office has “nap pods” in the middle of the workplace, designed to put employees to sleep with soothing noises; and Rodale Inc., (which publishes Women’s Health and Men’s Health), has an outdoor trail for runs, and an outdoor gardening area for those interested in growing fresh vegetables.


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