Creating workplaces that promote wellness is at the cutting edge of building design. When we’re talking wellness, we’re talking about workplaces that promote both mental and physical health and general wellbeing in the people that occupy them.
Heidi Dening is a world-leading expert in the field, and we had the pleasure of welcoming her on a recent episode of the Spaces podcast. As Heidi points out, a typical worker will spend a whopping 90,000 hours of their lives in workspaces, so it makes sense that we design them to help us perform better and reach our potential.
Heidi is also an adviser to the International WELL Building Institute in New York. This organisation is at the forefront of promoting wellness in buildings through its WELL building standards accreditation program.
What is Wellness in A Building Sense?
Sick building syndrome is something you might have heard about. It really comes about because of poorly designed workplaces that are detrimental to the health of the people who work within them, and, ultimately, productivity.
“As workers, we spend about 90,000 hours in workplaces,” Heidi says. “So the built environment, the spaces that we’re in need to be created and designed in a way that either maintains or hopefully, promotes our health and wellbeing.”
Heidi explains it this way: “by creating spaces in a particular way, you are able to make sure people don’t get sick, you’re even able to make sure they can sleep better at night.”
As Heidi and the work of the WELL Building Institute have proven, well-designed workspaces can aid social connection, collaboration, creativity and innovation.
The WELL Standard
It was this thinking that led to the creation of the WELL Standard. It’s an evidence-based building standard and accreditation system developed by the WELL Building Institute.
The standard incorporates 10 broad components that define a workspace that promotes good health – air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind and community.
Listen to the entire conversation with Heidi Dening here.