WELL certificate, WELL in the office – perhaps you have already come across such a term. It doesn’t mean a SPA or beauty space, although organizing space for relaxation and entertainment in offices has recently become very trendy. So what does this mean?
Well, well, well, is what?
The WELL (The Well Building Standard) certificate developed by IWBI (International WELL Building Institute), and is, apart from BREEAM and LEED, one of the most sought-after certificates.
However, while the first two concern technological solutions in buildings, WELL is only about people – but the intention is not to judge users or building owners. During the certificate application process, the building needs to demonstrate that it provides the highest comfort in many respects, with the greatest emphasis placed on the physical health and mental condition of the users. Office buildings as well as hotels, restaurants, apartment buildings, and even schools, shopping malls and hospitals can apply for the certificate. Buildings can be certified in the New and Existing Buildings, New and Existing Interiors and Core and Shell categories. It is awarded in four levels (Certified, Silver, Gold, Platinum) for three years. In the interim, the facility undergoes an annual audit, and applying for recertification is possible after three years.
WELL is not for everyone
To obtain the WELL certificate, a number of very restrictive conditions must be met in seven categories: air, water, nutrition, light, health, comfort, and well-being. Each category defines over 100 features, the fulfillment of which affects the final level of assessment. To obtain a certificate, a building must meet the necessary conditions in each of these categories and meet about 40 of most important requirements, without which it has no possibility of being awarded a certificate. The more a building meets the additional conditions, the higher mark it can get. Depending on the purpose of the building, different criteria are taken into account, but some of them are the same for all facilities.
Categories for the body
Among the restrictive conditions that are taken into account in the WELL certification process, the most important thing is the quality of air breathed by the building users. The quality and efficiency of the ventilation, air purifications methods and biophilia are examined. The latter aims not only to improve air quality through the use of plants that absorbs pollutants. Surrounding yourself with natural, green vegetation has a beneficial effect on the psyche – it calms the eyesight and nerves, reduces stress and improves one’s mood. Access to natural daylight is no less important – its intensity and color have a real impact on work efficiency, the ability to concentrate, fatigue and stress levels, as evidenced by numerous studies. No Wonder that WELL also considers lighting. Other criteria include: water quality, methods of its purification and the promotion of drinking water in the building, as well as the promotion of healthy eating – offered at a catering outlet or solutions in common areas intended for preparing or eating meals (e.g. graphics with a food pyramid, tables with nutritional values, etc.).
Categories for the spirit
All solutions that help employees take care of their physical conditions (such as access to the fitness area or indoor and outdoor gyms), support for employees commuting to work by bike or solutions classified as “active design: that encourage or even force a little effort and movement on the part of the employee while performing simple tasks (taking the stairs instead of taking tge elevator, taking a few steps to pick up the printout from the printer). WELL also rewards building owners for solutions for comfortable work, e.g. facilities for the disabled, lowering the noise level inside offices or maintaining an appropriate temperature at any time of the year, , organizing a place to rest (e.g. shared lobby, outside benches), facilities for parents in the form of a nursery/kindergarden in an office building or apartment building and many others. Points to building the awareness of health, especially mental health, which translates into the ability of employees to remain in good mental condition, despite being in closed rooms for several hours.
Who needs WELL?
Companies often compete in solutions aimed at improving the well-being of their employees and their enthusiasm for work. The awareness of the correlation between the consumed food and one’s state of health increases day by day and there is no need to convince anyone that proper nutrition and hydration have an impact on their condition, the ability to concentrate and employees’ efficiency. Clean air means a much healthier employee, more resistant to respiratory system and cardiovascular system diseases, less often suffering from headaches, less often taking a day off at work. It has been known for a long time that an employee who feels good in the workplace can do more – they take on business challenges with greater enthusiasm, work faster and more efficiently, and are consequently more productive, which directly translates into company’s success. The requirements set by the WELL certificate are certainly the right solutions that can greatly help to achieve this effect.