Over the last decade, the construction industry has embraced the LEED movement. The focus of the movement was how to make space more environmentally friendly by improving energy efficiency and producing less waste. By all indications, the LEED effort produced great results and will continue to be a big part of the planning of new space.
LEED reshaped the way architects, builders and owners thought about energy consumption and its effect on the environment. While this is certainly positive, one thing the movement doesn’t address, that happens to be related to it, is the effect of the space on the occupants. In recent years, the International WELL Building Institute has created a methodology that focuses on the health and wellbeing of the occupants—WELL Building. WELL Building does not add or detract from LEED, it functions as a separate discipline that can and does exist side by side with LEED.
What is the Purpose of WELL Building?
The purpose of WELL Building is to create a space that takes into consideration the physical, mental and even spiritual needs of individuals to help them realize their full potential and productivity. It recognizes that environmental conditions have a deep effect on how individuals perform over time and that by implementing best practices, companies can reap the benefits of employees who are healthier, fitter, less stressed and in a better mood. Additionally, there is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that well building can be one of the tools to help recruit and retain top talent.
The idea behind the discipline is that wellbeing and productivity are inextricably linked. Sick, stressed out employees do not perform at the same level as healthy, calm employees who love where they work. WELL building seeks to improve morale and motivation by creating a space that is not just functional but helps individuals realize their best selves through a thoughtful design process that incorporates advances in seven areas: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.
The benefit of addressing each area in a holistic way is to leave nothing to chance and ensure the most is made out of every square foot in the office space. It is still too early in the WELL Building evolution to tell what will be the ROI of implementing the process, but even small improvements in environment can have a big effect on productivity and wellbeing, therefore it is more likely than not an effort well worth undertaking. A company doesn’t have to implement every single area in deep detail, but even by implementing some of them, it will only improve the office environment.
WELL Building is just getting started and as companies across the country, such as IBM and Yahoo, push back against remote workers with the idea in mind to improve collaboration and communication, office design will become even more important and WELL Building seems to address the issue in a methodical and holistic way.
As a consulting company, Milrose is constantly searching for and analyzing leading edge developments in construction best practices, building code and zoning updates, as well as municipal permitting issues.