This issue is receiving particular attention in the commercial office space, where the links between human health are translatable into workplace productivity and financial performance. CBRE’s 2016 European Occupier Survey showed that over 75% of corporate occupiers have already put wellness programmes in place. The WELL Building Standard is steadily building market presence alongside the traditional “green” building certifications and developers of new space are keen to build in infrastructure to support, and attract, future occupiers as they look to expand their activities.
The journey to a more “human” approach to our buildings and workplaces has been long, but recent acceleration has been rapid. Whilst much historic research has focused on hospital or learning environments, recent investigations concentrate on an active workforce. Research by the Delos WELL Living Lab, the Global Wellness Institute, and CBRE’s own Healthy Offices Research in collaboration with the University of Twente and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam all demonstrate real impacts from the physical aspects of our work environment. We are actively integrating these findings in our own offices, such as our Los Angeles headquarters, the world’s first WELL certified office space, and our new space in Madrid and Barcelona. This provides the opportunity to study impacts first hand and long term, and allows us to visibly demonstrate solutions.
While we are receiving great feedback from staff and clients on the new spaces being created it is important to note that our physical environment is only one aspect of our work life. To truly enhance wellbeing at work requires an holistic approach that includes workplace behaviours, inclusive organizational culture, and expectations around work life balance. The involvement of HR teams and company leadership is important to ensure that a new workspace is supported by policy and practice to create a workplace that promotes both physical and mental wellbeing.
Many of us will have felt the impact of stress and depression through personal experience, family or friends – self-reported depression is the single most important cause of workplace absenteeism in the UK, and the World Health Organisation predicts that depression will be the second leading cause of disease by 2020. It is fitting therefore that today – the first day of CBRE’s annual Green Week – we recognise World Mental Health Day with our inaugural Wellbeing Day. The day combines opportunities for learning and practice, seeking to empower people to take action towards their own wellbeing while encouraging awareness of the impacts and prevalence of mental health issues, and actions that can be taken to help.
We hope that by encouraging an holistic approach to workplace wellness we can help our people and other organisations to act to address and prevent this very human aspect of our work life.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn here.
Senior Director, EMEA Head of Sustainability, CBRE Ltd