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Healthy working: how to bring wellness and sustainability into your workplace

Gerda Stelpstra

workplace healthy (image)

While it may be difficult to predict the future of the workplace as new technologies and trends take shape, there is one thing of which we can be certain: the future workplace should be a workplace supporting our health.

While sustainability and environmental performance have increasingly become embedded into the CRE industry, a focus on the impact of the built environment on human performance has increased. More portfolios and buildings are participating in health and wellness practices and certifications are becoming more aware of how a healthy indoor environment can positively affect employee happiness, which directly links to worker productivity. Healthy employees are thought to perform better and are more likely to be happy and engaged.
workplace healthy quote (image)The average company spends 10 times as much on salaries compared to rent, highlighting the potential return on investment (ROI) of investing in the health and wellbeing of their workers. Researchers from Harvard's Center for Health and the Global Environment completed a study on how green buildings positively affect health and cognitive function. On average, cognitive scores were 61 percent higher in green building conditions and 101 percent higher in enhanced green building conditions.

Furthermore, a healthy workplace is a powerful tool in your talent attraction and retention strategy, considering the increased interest from younger generations in wellbeing. Millennials, who globally make up 36 percent of the traditional workforce, are generally more health-conscious than their predecessors and are increasingly drawn to organizations that create workplaces that reflect their values.

As the focus on sustainable and healthy workplaces has increased, frameworks such as LEED, WELL, Fitwel and Reset have provided much-needed guidelines, standards and strategies for creating a better workplace. Through their rating systems, they can help make the business case for a company’s investment and, with more certified spaces coming online each year, can to track the strategies that have the largest impact on reducing our carbon footprint and employee sick time, while increasing productivity and impacting top-line performance.

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