So you have heard a little about the WELL Building Standard, but don’t know what it means? Don’t worry we have you covered. By definition, “the WELL Building Standard is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind.” WELL is considered to be the first standard to solely focus on the health and wellness of anyone who may occupy the building. Heath is no longer just a personal investment, employers are now understanding the benefits of having a healthy workforce. The following are a few facts about each of the seven core concepts of the WELL building standard.
-Air – Polluted air is now considered to be the number one environmental cause of premature deaths globally. The WELL building standard addressed that concern by establishing requirements in buildings to promote clean air as well as reduce indoor pollution.
-Water – Water is essential to life on this planet, but has increasingly become an issue as pollutants are contaminating our water sources. WELL promotes the use of safe/clean water by creating a standard for proper filtration as well as the regular testing of water in the building.
– Nourishment – Poor nutrition is now being addressed as over half of the world’s adult population is overweight. Preventable diseases like obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes can be prevented by choosing foods which are unprocessed, fresh, and wholesome. The WELL standard requires the availability of such foods thus supporting mindful eating in the workplace.
-Light- Interruption of the body’s circadian rhythm have been linked to some chronic diseases such as depression, diabetes, as well as obesity. WELL supplies illumination guidelines in effort to minimize disruption to our body’s circadian system. The goal of this standard is to enhance productivity as well as a better quality of sleep.
-Fitness- 23% of adults are failing to meet guidelines set by the World Health Organization for physical activity. This fact means that those individuals that fail this fitness guideline have a 20%-30% higher risk of mortality when being compared to those that meet the fitness guideline set by the WHO. If we were to curb this by just half word wide we could possibly see 530,000 deaths be avoided yearly. WELL addresses this by promoting the integration of physical activity into your everyday life as well as providing opportunities to aid in an active lifestyle.
-Comfort- WELL considers thermal, acoustic, olfactory, as well as ergonomic comfort to enhance indoor working environments. By setting a standard in comfort the WELL Building standard aims to maximize ones productivity as well as prevent the physical stress of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
-Mind- There are many factors that directly impact mental health in today’s workplace, WELL aims to optimize cognitive and emotional health through design, technology, and treatment strategies.
As we begin to have a greater understanding of personal health and the impact that the workplace can have on one’s health it seems that we would go in the direction of the WELL Building Standard. This is a new concept that could eventually shape every part of a building from its construction to aesthetic design. Maintaining a healthy workforce is very advantageous to employers as well as building owners for a multitude of reasons. As the world is growing more and more health conscious, we will be utilizing things like the WELL Building Standard when making decisions regarding location of work as well as home, especially in urban centers that have higher concentrations of pollutants. After all, who doesn’t want a better workplace?