As more and more companies become LEED certified, focus turns to improving overall health.

By: Alex Spigler, WELL faculty, WELL AP, LEED AP
Senior Vice President, Cushman & Wakefield

Human health takes center stage with WELL guidelines.

LEED Certification set the benchmark for environmentally responsible buildings and sourcing materials. But now, developers and architects are looking to create buildings that improve health and well-being and adhere to LEED standards. To do so, the International WELL Building Institute—a public benefit corporation that works to improve human health and well-being—created the WELL Building Standard, an independent rating system that focuses solely on the health and well-being of a building’s occupants through measuring, certifying and monitoring seven different categories—air, water, nutrition, light, fitness, comfort and mind. IWBI has developed more than 100 standards intended to address every aspect of occupants’ healthy work life.

Employees Together at Office
Seeking increased productivity through healthy spaces.

Unlike LEED, WELL extends beyond the realm of buildings. While it focuses on cleaning high-touch surfaces (doorknobs, desks, meeting tables, etc.) the standards also touch on initiatives such as providing employees with fruit and vegetables; offering treadmill desks; and encouraging employees to eat together instead of on the go or at their desk. All of these have a different purpose: Some reduce acute illnesses quickly spreading around an office, therefore diminishing sick days, while others give employees opportunities to connect with peers and be active at work, which can increase employee happiness and have a big impact on the bottom line through reduced turnover. When engagement is high and attendance is strong, productivity can be sky high.

WELL Standards for Office
Deep knowledge in pioneering areas of workplace management.

While the mindfulness and wellness movement has gained more support from workplace leaders, the WELL Building Standard is still in its early stages. C&W Services’ sister company, Cushman & Wakefield, is on the cusp of the movement with in-house WELL Building Standard specialists and real-world client experience, despite the relative newness of this practice. Our combined teams’ deep knowledge across many different practice areas means C&W Services’ facilities managers and accounts teams have the necessary internal resources to provide our clients with any needs that expand beyond the traditional realm of FM.

“Over the past decade, we found that a major driving force in the adoption of the LEED standard was the millennial workforce expectations of their employers,” says Ken Stack, vice president, facility management solutions, C&W Services. “As the economy continues to grow, WELL can be a market differentiator and may be the next evolution in the employee’s expectations as leading employers compete for workforce talent.”