Showcasing your commitment to health and wellbeing

Chloe Sproston
X The Business Desk

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We interview Chloe Sproston, Creative & Commercial Director from workplace consultants and office fit-out specialists, Blueprint Interiors who explains what is involved in achieving the WELL Building Standard and the WELL Health-Safety rating seal.

Why is the WELL Building Standard important?

The WELL building standard is a programme designed to help businesses create health-first office spaces for their employees. By achieving the WELL Building standard, your organisation can profit from various financial and performance benefits, from reduced staff turnover and sick leave to increased productivity. This not only improves your employees’ health, but also your company’s bottom line. It can also help you attract new customers and improve supply chain partnerships.

What is the WELL Building Standard?

The WELL Building Standard® is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing.  It is the first system of its kind to measure buildings (and everything in them!) on their ability to advance human health and wellness. It was created by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) which is committed to creating spaces that help people thrive. The Standard is all about improving the comfort, drive and even the decision-making of those using a space.

There is also a new standard called the WELL Health-Safety rating which is informed by the WELL Building Standard® and more than 600 experts from the Task Force on COVID-19. A visible indication of confidence and trust, the WELL Health-Safety seal tells everyone entering your space that evidence-based measures have been adopted and third-party verified. With a QR code front and centre, visitors can gain insight into how your facility supports the health and safety of staff, customers and the community.

What steps are involved in gaining accreditation?

STEP 1 – UNDERSTAND THE CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

The first step is to ensure you fully understand the requirements and or get advice from a certified practitioner who can help you.

The WELL certification is ranked on points gained from 108 features (24 preconditions and 84 optimisations). These are achieved across 10 concepts: Air, Water, Light, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Nourishment, Movement, Mind, and Community.

Your building needs to meet all the preconditions to achieve certification, but optimisations are optional to meet certification requirements. The levels of certification span Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum, with each one requiring more optimisations per concept than the last.

STEP 2 – ASSESS THE FEASIBILITY

Before you get started on your journey to achieving the WELL Building Standard, you need to understand if your current office could feasibly attain it in the first place.

Start by defining your goals, certification aspirations and success factors. How big is your project? What is your proposed timescale? Which optimisations do you plan to pursue? Once you’ve finished assessing, present the WELL standard and certification process, along with your assessment, to everyone involved in the project.

Once preparation is complete, you can register your project on the WELL portal.

STEP 3 – IMPLEMENT THE CHANGES

Now you have your project planned and registered, and your supporting documents submitted and accepted, it’s time for the fun part! You can finally get to work making the changes to improve your office space.

WELL can help you with this part through their Project Office. They help you to set up and track your workstream activities, roles and responsibilities. Your WELL advisor will also oversee your project through weekly progress and strategy review meetings, helping you to achieve your goals in your proposed timeframe.

Finally, on completion of your office redesign, you’ll need to submit all documentation and evidence to the WELL board for review.

STEP 4 – VERIFY THE PROJECT

Once all the hard work is done (on your part!) your WELL certification team will conduct a preliminary benchmark test, to judge how your completed changes stack up against your project proposal. They carry out performance tests on the relevant concepts and optimisations, and your final documentation report is also checked for any errors.

Once this is complete, WELL will invite an external Performance Testing Organisation to carry out the official verification process. If needed, they’ll advise on curative, and you can make appeals in the case of minor failures.

Then comes the part you have been waiting for… your WELL Score and Certification Award, along with all the marketing and communications assets you need to brag about your success!

STEP 5- MONITOR YOUR CERTIFICATION

As with all accreditations there is a requirement for continual assessment, so the work doesn’t end just because you have achieved certification – it has to be maintained to a set standard. WELL advise that you conduct a post-occupancy study on your employees health/safety and workplace satisfaction. After all, this is the reason why you carried out the work in the first place.

Then, annual reports are needed from your team to update WELL on the change progress and employee feedback. Along with any other documentation from ongoing improvements.

Finally, when the time comes, WELL can start the recertification process with you. They’ll help with process planning activities and create a schedule to get you on the track to WELL recertification.

Mental wellbeing and emotional health are just as important to embrace when creating productive workplaces. That’s why the universally recognised benchmark, the WELL Building Standard, is at the heart of our design process when we create work spaces that that will inspire people to be happier, motivated, and more productive.

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