Hilson Moran’s 2,900 sq ft office in Bruntwood’s Neo building in Manchester was the first outside London to be awarded the WELL gold standard and the third accredited within in the UK. The office also won the BCO Regional Innovation award last month. We had a tour and found out how the space achieved the gold certification.
1. Low VOC furnishings. Love the scent of a new carpet? You shouldn’t. The smell is created by VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, which can create bad air quality and can cause short and long-term health problems. The furnishings in the Hilson Moran office were specially made to have low VOC.
2. Cupboards made out of potatoes and straw. In the kitchen area of the office the bottom cupboards are made from potato skins and potato starch and the top are made from straw and potato starch.3. All surfaces have limited gaps. For example, the kitchen worktop is an entire piece. This is to create a more easily cleaned environment by preventing bacteria from getting in to places that can’t be reached.
4. Air monitoring. Indoor pollution of the office is measured by a little sensor device called foobot. This can ‘smell’ the invisible, odourless pollutants in environments and makes them visible through its LED display and app. In one glance, the colour and breadth of its glow will let you know whether your air feels more like a forest in the Alps or a motorway during rush hour.
5. Lots of daylight. The office has a lot of access to natural light with most working spaces directly next to windows. Studies have found a relationship between proximity to windows and productivity. There’s also automated shading and dimming controls, as well as low-glare workstations and lighting design which minimises disruption to the body’s 24-hour clock.
6. Optimised acoustic comfort. With the office being so open plan, you’d think it would create a noisy atmosphere. However, by working with their own acoustics team, the company managed to reduce sounds from travelling in certain areas. Those structures on the ceiling are not just for decoration.
7. Biophilia. There are more plants in the workspace than there are humans at Hilson Moran, including a wall of moss. Not only does this help with the air quality but it has a positive impact on mental health as plants can help reduce stress, increase productivity and boost creativity.
9. Flexible working spaces. Nobody sits at the same desk every day. There are lockers to encourage people to leave the spaces as clutter-free as possible.
10. Discount to gym and free Fitbits. As a result of being a tenant in Bruntwood’s Neo building, Hilson Moran employees receive a discount to the gym and a free Fitbit. Competitions are run throughout the building for the most steps taken. This can result in a healthier and happier workplace.