December 15, 2016
By Dennis Kaiser
Sustainability expert, Alex Spilger of Cushman & Wakefield, advocates the merits and value WELL Certification. WELL is a fairly new movement, and Alex, who leads C&W’s West Coast Sustainability Practice, is deeply involved in the pioneering effort. He also helped develop the WELL Exam. Recently he published a report, WELL Certification, the Next Frontier. Connect Media asked Alex to share what he found out about the latest trends, issues and what’s ahead for sustainability and CRE.
Q: Why are sustainability and WELL buildings important?
A: The WELL Building Standard takes into account seven categories called ‘concepts:’ air, water, nutrition, light, fitness, comfort and mind – all of which are based on medical research concerning how environments affect human health. Within the seven concepts of WELL are over 100 wellness features, each designed to improve the overall health, mood, sleep and performance of a building’s occupants.
The health and wellness of employees is important to every company, regardless of size or industry sector. Recent focus on this emerging topic has provided firms with concrete strategies and measurable results surrounding health and wellness in the workplace, improving the lives of people and contributing to the bottom line for companies. Creating an office environment that attracts top talent and fosters innovation involves more than implementing the latest trends in design. Increasingly, companies are recognizing that the most effective workplace is one which puts sustainability, and in particular, the health and well-being of their employees at the forefront.
Q: What are the results?
A: Studies have shown that healthier employees are happier, more engaged and more productive. This leads to improved employee retention and overall company performance. Even just small changes to increase everyday wellness can significantly impact employee health.
To give a sense of such changes, some wellness strategies we are currently implementing in one of our confidential client’s spaces in Silicon Valley is providing operable windows throughout, encouraging healthier food options such as fruits and vegetables, providing treadmill desks, offering a fully-equipped bike repair station, building out a state of the art fitness facility onsite, and providing access to nature via a vegetated roof.
Q: What’s ahead in this area?
A: The wellness in the workplace movement continues to gain a lot of momentum. Companies are shifting their culture to align with the health and happiness of their employees, driving innovation across the built environment, human resources and company policies.
Cushman & Wakefield has worked closely with our clients, which have included GoPro and other major global brands representing many industries, who have already helped the wellness movement make big strides in a short amount of time. More and more of our clients worldwide are recognizing the value of investing in the health and well-being of their workforce. We feel the time is definitely ripe for the commercial real estate sector to play a leading role in the growing health and wellness movement.
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Kaiser