Investing in wellbeing is good for business, so when we started looking into the WELL certification’s aim to “better buildings to help people thrive”, it really was a no brainer. Providing workspaces that benefit wellbeing can help to significantly reduce absenteeism and increase productivity. That’s why we embed practices and amenities that support just that.
As the leading tool for advancing health and wellbeing in buildings globally, WELL works to a flexible framework for improving health and human experience through design. All of this aligns with our own ethos as a business around health and wellbeing through our approach to social, environment and economical factors. By working towards WELL certification, we’re gaining a better understanding of how we can shape wellbeing through design and material selection.
We spend more than 90% of our time indoors, and with our ever-increasing understanding around the relationship between environment and our health, it’s so important that buildings take this into consideration. Achieving WELL certification starts with the design phase, it needs to be built into the fabric of the building. This then allows us to measure and monitor light, movement, air, water, nourishment, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind and community.
Bringing WELL to our buildings
The first building where we’re implementing WELL certification standards is at 111 Piccadilly in Manchester city centre, one of our Pioneer buildings. The project is allowing us to create an opportunity to provide a more positive working environment for all of our customers and colleagues. Due to complete in spring (May 2020), 111 Piccadilly is set to become the first coworking space in the UK to achieve Platinum standard WELL certification.
Going forward, we’ll be taking what we’ve learnt in our approach to designing 111 Piccadilly to all of our buildings and rolling the practice out as standard.
So, how are we doing this?
Using smart technologies, we’re able to gather data and adjust the environment of our buildings, which will be key to monitoring air quality. We’re installing advanced lighting controls that will help to maintain a normal circadian rhythm, the body’s natural cycle of sleep and alertness.This will help to positively impact people’s mood and productivity by mimicking natural daylight and adjusting the environment throughout the day. We spend so much of our time indoors now, that it’s important we expose people to light to maintain optimal, synchronised circadian rhythm.
To foster good mental health, we’ve got acoustically designed and zoned areas, giving designated space for relaxing and focusing. There’s also a new exhibition space, offering people the chance to engage with the arts which improve our wellbeing and will create a space for social connection.
We always want to give people the opportunity to bring more physical activity into their day. With bike storage and showers available within the building for customers, people can choose to use the commute, or lunchtime, to exercise. This is also encouraging sustainable travel, something we know is high on our customers’ agenda.
And, of course, food provision is so important to wellbeing too. Manchester favourite and award-winning independent roastery, Ancoats Coffee Co is opening its second venue on the ground floor. This will completely transform the arrival experience and provide a fantastic amenity to not only our customers, but the general public, too. Sustainability is at the core of what Ancoats Coffee Co do, sourcing and roasting ‘speciality’ grade coffee beans from accredited importers, sustainably, ethically and making sure they’re in season.
Spreading wellness through our buildings
Wellness is also a key part of our Pioneer refurbishment at Manchester’s Lowry House where we’re creating a new urban oasis by using biophilia to bring nature into the heart of the space. This is all about creating the ultimate customer experience by providing an uplifting workspace environment that enhances mental and physical wellbeing.
When complete, the building will offer amenities to support a healthy work/life balance and boost creativity. This includes a new independent café, sleep pods, a quiet study area, cinema room, fitness studio and space to host pop-up events.
As with 111 Piccadilly, a smart building management system will be embedded into Lowry House to monitor its carbon footprint and consumption to help support energy efficiency. also be reverse vending machines that offer rewards to encourage recycling are also being incorporated into the building layout. All of this supports our pledge to the Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Commitment.
And why is all this so important?
Any business looking to place people at its heart needs to take wellbeing on board. People no longer see wellbeing initiatives as a “nice to have”, but actually something that all employers should offer. Bruntwood spaces and places give people the flexibility and freedom to work however they need to. If you need some inspiration, the community within our shared facilities can help you innovate. If you need that focussed time, we’ve got the perfect quiet spaces. There’s access to a wide range of amenities to help employees embrace healthy habits, connect with colleagues, and boost wellbeing. Plus, whether it’s physical, mental or financial wellbeing, there are lots of ways we offer support, advice and opportunity through our community events and partnerships.
- Andrew Cooke is regional director of Bruntwood Works