WELL Certification is a recognised standard for buildings and workplace design that puts human health and wellness at the forefront. WELL Platinum certification is the highest merit possible. The WELL building standard has been developed through a process of research and analysis to ensure it is grounded in science.
This ensures that conscious design features will have a positive impact on people’s health, well-being, and productivity at work. The belief behind The Well Building Standard lies within our understanding of how architecture can positively affect a worker’s mental state.
WELL Certification is administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), a non-profit organisation that provides technical guidance, administrators certifications, and offers educational resources on the WELL building standard.
Achieving WELL Certification brings many benefits. Improved health and productivity and reduced sick days for employees which results in lower healthcare costs are some of them. In addition, the WELL program also offers companies an opportunity to improve their company image with marketing materials that highlight this initiative towards sustainable design practices.
In order to achieve the highest level of certification – platinum, an office must meet a number of preconditions and optimisation features. Here are 5 steps that will help you achieve WELL Platinum Certification for your office space.
- Design with Employees’ Health in Mind
To achieve WELL Platinum Certification you must be able to show that every aspect of your office design has been thoughtfully planned with employees’ health and well-being in mind.
This means determining the best layout for natural light and air circulation, as well as installing ergonomic furniture to prevent discomfort and injury. Providing opportunities for physical activity through features like standing desks or on-site gym facilities is essential to keep employees healthy. The materials used should promote good indoor air quality and be sustainable. One way to create a healthy indoor environment is to use low or no VOC paint on walls. Another is to choose carpets made from recycled materials.
These are just a few examples. Every design choice you make should be based on evidence that it will have a positive impact on employee health. By placing employee health at the forefront of all decisions, a business can not only achieve WELL Platinum Certification but also create a happier and more productive workplace.
- Draw on Recent Studies
One important aspect to reaching WELL Platinum Certification is implementing operation protocols that align with recent research on health and building design. More and more research is emerging, demonstrating a strong link between office design and employee productivity. Be sure to reference this research when explaining your office design, operation protocols, and best practices to the WELL assessment team.
For example, a study by Hernke and colleagues found cognitive performance to be 50% worse in buildings exposed to higher levels of CO2. Hence an effective clean air program is crucial for WELL Platinum certification.
By drawing on the latest studies and incorporating their findings into operations you’ll be able to show that your office is at the cutting edge of healthy workplace design.
- Cover the Core Concepts
The WELL building standard covers 10 core concepts of building performance that support and advance human health: air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind, and community. To achieve WELL Platinum Certification your office must cover at least 7 out of 10 of these concepts.
When designing for WELL certification, the first step is to establish a team of professionals that includes building management, engineers, and facility managers. They will work together to identify existing features that align with WELL’s core concepts and establish a plan for incorporating the missing ones.
Once the initial design is complete, ongoing assessment and maintenance are crucial for retaining platinum status. Regular monitoring of air quality and water purity can detect any issues before they become serious problems.
In addition, creating a culture of health in the workplace can have a significant impact on employee wellbeing. This can include offering healthy food options in the cafeteria, promoting physical activity through offering movement classes or walking programs, and offering wellness or education workshops. By taking these steps, your office can achieve WELL Platinum Certification and create a healthy space for employees to thrive.
- Meet all Preconditions & Optimisation Features
In order to achieve WELL Platinum Certification certification, you must meet all preconditions plus 80 percent or more of the optimisation features for each core concept. You must also implement a certain amount of optimisation features within each core concept such as air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, mind and innovation. Some examples of optimisation features involve offering plant-based food options in the workplace and implementing natural light strategies to improve focus and productivity.
Achieving WELL Platinum Certification may seem overwhelming but with the right team by your side, it’s possible to create a sustainable and healthy environment for building occupants.
- Make it Low Carbon & Sustainable
Another important aspect of achieving WELL Platinum Certification is creating a sustainable and low-carbon environment. This means taking steps to reduce your energy consumption, water usage, and waste production.
One way to do this is by switching to renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power. Ensuring that your lighting and HVAC systems are energy efficient can also make a difference. Additionally, implementing sustainable practices such as recycling and using environmentally-friendly cleaning products can contribute to a lower carbon footprint.
You can learn more about how to make your office space low carbon and sustainable by visiting the WELL website or working with a professional WELL assessor.
WELL certification is worth it for the many benefits associated with this process such as productivity benefits or improving the ability to attract employees if you’re a tenant. If you’re a CRE owner, WELL certification can support in attracting tenants and increasing the value of your building or returns from your real estate. You can start your journey to WELL by creating a checklist and identifying which parts you already have covered and which still need to be improved and optimised.
When deciding on the best activities to focus on, you can consider which would be the fastest and most cost-effective to start on with your existing resources. Then look at third-party solutions that can support in achieving missing capabilities. Solutions that can help support a number of competencies can be weighted higher than other solutions but also consider long-term benefits outside of just WELL certification as well as if it will help you achieve a higher certification.
Key to successfully achieving WELL Platinum certification is aligning your team and partners to the same goal. Identify all the stakeholders within your building who will be required to successfully implement any changes. Then finally fill in any gaps with external partners and look forward to a smart, healthy and productive building!
If you need help figuring out how to get started on your WELL Platinum Certification journey feel free to book a no-obligation call with our expert team and we can help identify where to get started.
Incube is a predictive building optimisation platform on a mission to ensure that workplaces we occupy are healthy, productive and sustainable. We achieve this through products which enable buildings to adapt as their usage changes in real time. We help you do more faster by consolidating data from across data sources within your buildings, then use autoML to analyse and predict how you can optimise your building’s performance and achieve WELL Platinum Certification.
Our core product, CubeOS, can pre-emptively automate tweaks to a building’s HVAC to maintain optimal air quality whenever and wherever people are in a building, whilst reducing energy costs and improving tenant satisfaction.