With around one-third of adult life spent at work, it's not surprising that workplace wellbeing is a hot topic.
The recent trends of “quiet quitting” and the Great Resignation have pushed the issue of workplace wellness to the top of the agenda. Top of mind is ensuring safer and healthier workplaces for the future, rebuilding employee confidence, and reimagining and reinvigorating the physical office.
And there is a tool that is helping employers do just that. It’s called the WELL Health-Safety Rating, an initiative of the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).
Jack Noonan, vice president of IWBI APAC shared his thoughts about how the WELL rating is putting wellness in the workplace front and centre for organisations and how Stockland, as an early adopter of the WELL Health-Safety Rating, is embedding wellbeing in every aspect of its workplaces.
Jack says the uptake of WELL around the world reflects a growing awareness of the role buildings play in supporting our health, safety and wellbeing.
“Healthy places are no longer a nice to have. Asking occupants what they think of their spaces, measuring indoor air quality, making improvements to spaces over time and looking at how our spaces can drive behaviour change needs to be the industry norm.”
The good news is things are changing and fast.
“Across all sectors, one driving force for WELL adoption is the enterprise-level
commitment to prioritising health and wellbeing for people. To date, about 20% of
Fortune 500 companies are using WELL programs to centre their corporate health strategies. WELL provides a roadmap for organisations to take a comprehensive approach to people’s health, safety and wellbeing.”
But it’s Australia that is leading the drive for change. Around 20% of all commercial office space in Australia is actively engaged in a WELL program.
Jack says a major focus of the healthy building movement for workplaces is equity.
“We are seeing more and more organisations try to ensure that every person who uses their space feels welcome and comfortable, and is able to benefit from the health interventions in place. Designing spaces for everyone, ensuring access to high-quality water, air and lighting and mental health support services, means that everyone – including the organisation – benefits.
Dive into the details
The WELL rating measures six areas of health and safety:
- Cleaning and sanitisation procedures
- Emergency preparedness programs
- Health service resources
- Air and water quality management
- Stakeholder engagement and communication
Jack believes that as the focus on wellbeing continues to grow, organisations need to think of it in a more expansive way.
Organisations must adopt a systemic, agile and forward-looking approach that considers people’s needs.
Jack notes that WELL strategies can help employers rethink sick leave and stay-at-home policies and encourage vaccine programs and seasonal flu prevention campaigns.
Rethinking wellbeing is critical if organisations want to build a sustainable future in which workers can feel and perform at their best.
Jack says WELL strategies can include creating a re-entry plan after an emergency event that addresses maintenance and sanitisation protocols, stakeholder engagement, access to personal protective equipment (PPE), dedensification (including phased re-entry), ongoing communication and training methods, and the continuous evaluation of health and safety protocols in the building.
Organisations can also consider what kind of support they will offer in response to an emergency, such as “necessary resources, personnel and training, as well as supporting the health and wellbeing of occupants during and after emergencies through education, emergency assistance funds and designated emergency spaces”.
Shaping change in the workplace
Stockland was an early adopter of the WELL Health-Safety Rating to ensure a safe and comfortable work environment as its team transitioned back to the office and used the rating to formalise its health-safety processes.
“With people at the heart of places it creates, Stockland leads by example in
delivering connected communities and prioritising the health and safety of
workers through implemented strategies such as keeping spaces clean and sanitised, ensuring access to high quality clean air and water, along with best practice emergency procedures in place, “ says Jack.
Stockland has received the WELL seal of approval for its offices and tenancies at Stockland Piccadilly in NSW and Durack Centre in WA as well as its Stockland Melbourne and Brisbane head offices.
We believe that employee wellbeing will continue to be a top priority on corporate agendas. We’ve already made a great start and we will continue to focus on creating healthier workplaces that contribute to positive outcomes for employees.
For information about WELL Health-Safety visit www.wellcertified.com/health-safety or talk to your building manager.