Employee Health and Wellness with a WELL Certified | Hong Kong
The WELL Building Standard is the premier standard, its the first standard that focuses on human health and well being through design, construction and operations of buildings.
There are seven concepts that WELL focuses on: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind. Each concept is designed to elevate human performance by creating the optimal environment. For example, how do you know what is the most comfortable temperature for prime concentration? Or what is the perfect level of light luminescence to maximize productivity? Perhaps you would like to know what is the ideal level of air purity required for human health? The WELL standard uses research and evidence to set parameters that meet the optimal level of human health with the goal to improve well being and enhance human performance. Allowing you to be able to perform at your peak.
Even if you have no intention to become well Certified, companies can still utilize the principles to help create a healthier and high-performance working environment. Below are simple basic methods that can be easily implemented for each feature.
Air | WELL Certified Hong Kong
The quality of air your breathing effects your performance. If the quality of air within an office is polluted and toxic, it effects employee’s ability to think clearly, they will be distracted and uncomfortable, their health will be compromised.
Research carried out by the World Green Building Council recorded an 11% increase in productivity as a result of increased fresh air to the workstation and a reduction in pollutants.
Ways to improve air quality:
- Implement a no-smoking policy
- Develop green cleaning protocols and keep office clutter-free
- Install air filtration systems
- Maintain a healthy level of humidity
- Add purifying plants
- Increase air circulation
Water | WELL Certified Hong Kong
Our brains and heart are 73% water, our lungs are 83%, skin 64%, even the bones are 31% water. Its safe to say humans are made up of water. The consumption of water helps us to improve sleep quality, energy levels, as well as our ability to focus, our clarity of mind, and our awareness and alertness. Without water our bodies become dehydrated and subsequently even death. Try to:
- Install a water dispenser with purification levels that meet WELL standard.
- Educate and promote employees about the benefits of drinking water
Nourishment | WELL Certified Hong Kong
We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat," and this is especially true for the workplace. What you eat during the day at work fuels and powers the brain. If you want your employees to feel energized, focused, and productive, encourage them to eat nutritious food and follow a balanced diet that allows their body to heal and flourish. Employees in companies with a strong health culture are 3x more likely to actively improve their health. Encourage better eating habits by:
- Increasing the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables
- Limit processed foods availability
- Label food clearly for food allergies
- Make nutritional information available
- Promote healthy food options over advertising unhealthy ones
- Foster mindful eating – create dedicated eating spaces
Light | WELL Certified Hong Kong
Having sufficient natural light in the office improves our mental health by decreasing depression and anxiety. A daily dose of vitamin D enhances our immune system and having adequate light when completing tasks prevents visual problems. A study conducted by the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell showed that employees seated within 10 feet of a window reported an 84% decrease in eyestrain, headaches, and blurred vision symptoms. Try these methods in increase light in the office.
- Consider adding desk lights
- Control glare
- Maximize natural lighting
Fitness | WELL Certified Hong Kong
Our bodies were not designed to remain static. We need movement to prevent, injury, physical disease and even mental disease. Humans who are more active are likely to be healthier and happier this is because exercise increases the blood flow to the brain and creates endorphins. Active employees have more energy are more alert and their concentration and decision-making skills are better.
A few ways to encourage movement at work include offering:
- Open and accessible stairways
- Shower facilities
- Fitness classes
- Adjustable workstations
- Space for physical activity
Comfort | WELL Certified Hong Kong
This feature involves creating a distraction-free comfortable environment by addressing acoustics, thermal comfort, and ergonomics. All the basics so that you are able to reach your potential. Ergonomics can lessen muscle fatigue, increase productivity, and reduce the severity of musculoskeletal disorders which are the most frequently cited causes of lost work time.
To create distraction-free, comfortable environment by:
- Choosing Ergonomically designed work areas with the ability to alternate from sitting to standing positions
- Limit sound from building systems and create quiet zones
- Ensure thermal temperatures reach occupant comfort levels
Mind | WELL Certified Hong Kong
We have a natural attraction to nature.
That’s because being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature contributes to your physical health by reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. One of the most intriguing areas of current research is the impact of nature on general wellbeing. Do you realize your mood improves after spending time outside, it changes from depressed, stressed, and anxious to calmer and more balanced. We can apply this to the workplace.
The Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace study showed that people who work in spaces with natural features reported 15% higher levels of overall wellbeing.
- Create different spaces with different purposes, including resting area
- Bring nature into the office: potted plants or plant walls
- Design outdoor spaces (rooftop garden or terrace)
- Offer WFH flexibility - give options on where and how employees want to work from
End Results - high performance
In each of these features, WELL sets strategy and criteria to improve workplace design so that humans can perform at their best. The research backs up how our environment can positively influence health, well being, and performance.
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