Wellbeing is a word that business and building owners can no longer avoid. New generations of employees expect places of work to have their wellbeing at the forefront, not as a luxury.
As a result, wellbeing is a key ingredient to attracting and retaining the best talent and getting the most out of them. This was the main message delivered at engineering design consultancy, Hydrock’s, ‘Well Worth It?’ event.
Here are six takeaways:
1. Chris Bowie-Hill, technical director at Hydrock, argued that an investment in the work environment is an investment in people. He highlighted how a lack of light can massively impact productivity with research which showed that children progressed through school curricula 20-26% faster when learning in day-lit environments
2. Jessica Bowles, director of strategy at developer Bruntwood, said the importance of the space they develop is critical to the ability of their customers to attract talent and that it’s important to recognise that their product goes beyond bricks and mortar to what happens inside a building
3. Robert Hopkins, regional director at AHR, said that delivering wellbeing in the built environment can’t be a rigid, tick-box exercise. His view on the WELL standard is that it’s not like collecting Panini stickers, select the areas most appropriate to your business and do them well
4. Wearables are the next big thing, according to Hopkins. When wearables start providing people with real-time data on the air quality around them, they will simply walk away from a space if they feel the environment is impacting their health
5. Sam Bensky, partner at RLB said the future of buildings will focus on ‘active design’, adding that sitting has become the new smoking, that it’s not good for you and not tolerated
6. Biophilia was a core theme throughout the event, not only does it help improve air quality, Bowie-Hill shared a hypothesis introduced by Edward O. Wilson in 1984, which suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life
The seminar, ‘Well worth it? The commercial case for wellbeing in buildings’, was held at XYZ Building in Spinningfields Manchester.