A few weeks ago HR.com invited us to participate in a live session with Angela Spangler, from the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI) and Alison Acerra, from Strategic Nutrition Design. It was an opportunity to discuss wellness at work, and how workplace design can impact the overall culture of a company.
You may be thinking “Why is this of interest to Oh My Green?” We spend about 90% of our time indoors, and the physical environment in which we work impacts our health more than lifestyle, medical care, and genetics. The IWBI and the WELL Building Standard cover everything from air, water and thermal comfort, lighting and sound design, material selection and much more. It even provides nutritional guidelines for the food you offer to your employees. For us, wellness starts with the foods we eat. Better food choices can play a central role in combating chronic health issues like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Employees who eat healthy foods at the office are linked to a 25% increase in productivity and a 27% lower absenteeism. If we take into consideration that the average person spends more than 50% of waking hours at work, it should be easy to understand why access to nutritious foods is critical for employee wellness. But, we look at health and wellness overall in a holistic way.
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”–The World Health Organization
The WELL Building Standard is also premised on a holistic view of health, a perspective shared by Oh My Green. Health —to the IWBI and Oh My Green— is not just about being free from disease but also of the enjoyment of productive lives from which we derive happiness and satisfaction. Healthy spaces protect people from that which can make us sick, promote practices that can keep us well, and facilitate opportunities for us to connect with one another and live our lives to the fullest.
A 2016 study conducted by Harvard University reported that green-certified buildings scored 26% higher on cognitive function and 30% fewer sick-building symptoms compared to others in conventional buildings.
The ROI for investing in employees —which is the most valuable asset or any corporation— is well-documented. According to Glassdoor, for every $1 invested in corporate wellness, there is a$5.81 ROI through reduced sick days, higher productivity and health care costs.
If you work in Human Resources, I would encourage you to listen to the recording of How Well is Your Building? You’ll hear from experts on best practices for workplace design and how to apply them to your company’s benefit programs. You’ll also learn about the importance of providing a healthy environment for your employees and the positive impact this could have on the profitability of your organization.