Meeting The WELL building standard to improve employee well being

Author Yodit Stanton

Published on August 2017

Reading time: 3 minutes 
British employees generally spend more time in the office than any other EU country except Austria and Germany.  But how does this affect employee productivity and wellbeing?
How can the time spent indoors be made more comfortable and agreeable? It’s hard to isolate one sole influence that affects productivity when in fact there are many to consider. Studies have shown that despite an average working day of 8 hours, you're probably only productive for around 3 of those.

What is the WELL Building Standard?

The WELL Building Standard is a set of best practices and guidelines focused on human health and wellness. The culmination of seven years of evidence based medical research in partnership with leading scientists, doctors, architects and wellness thought leaders was pioneered by Delos.
WELL is based on medical research on the health and wellness impacts of the buildings we spend most of our time in.   

What does the WELL certification encompass?

WELL certification concentrates on performance and requires a ‘pass’ score in these seven categories:
  1. Air
  2. Water
  3. Nourishment
  4. Light
  5. Fitness
  6. Comfort
  7. Mind
With WELL certification awarded at one of three levels: Silver, Gold, and Platinum, it is now much easier to gauge the gaps between comfort, well being and employee work output.

What variables are likely to impact productivity?

There are lots of research showing the effects of lighting, noise, temperature and CO2 on our productivity. 
Poor lighting makes us sleepy
That lull in energy you’re feeling might not be a sugar crash after all. Don’t blame it all on cakes. There is a marked connection between light and productivity amongst other key factors. Daylight and 'blue enriched light bulbs' help employees stay alert by lowering melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy.
But that’s not the only factor at play here influencing our alertness.
Breath of fresh air
Screen Shot 2017-08-31 at 14.52.29
We are less conscientious of air quality, but poor indoor air quality also cuts productivity. Insufficient ventilation concentrates pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon dioxide (CO2).
High CO2 levels have been shown to reduce concentration, attention span, and memory in classrooms.
The adverse effects of poor air quality can be dangerous (see Sick Building Syndrome).
To address these issues companies are recycling indoor air to maintain healthy CO2 levels.
Noise reduces concentration
Clacking keyboards, co-workers yapping away and phones ringing are some of the common gripes employees give for the reduction in their concentration. 
The World GBC’s 2016 report estimates that productivity dropped by 66% in performance and concentration due to ambient noise distractions.
Adjust your thermostat
It’s probably no surprise that with high temperatures (over 32C), productivity declines but the same is true when the temperature decreases below 15C, making people less focused on work and thus less productive.
A 2004 study links fewer typing errors and higher productivity when work spaces are warm enough. Let's not forget about humidity either as that affects perceived temperature and comfort levels so keeping a good level of it is key to maintaining a healthy and productive office environment.

Sensors improve workspace

Our customers use sensors for light, noise, temperature and CO2 as well as measuring air quality (i.e. particulates) and various gases including potentially harmful ones (e.g. VOC and CO) to monitor the workplace environment and help create healthier surroundings.
Pollution in large cities is increasingly problematic and it is vital that HVAC systems successfully filter out pollutants and gases from the outside world so employees can go about their day confident they are not compromising their well being just by going to work.
At OpenSensors, we aggregate data from a variety of sensors for the next generation of Smart Building Management Systems. We are experienced in helping companies combine data from new workplace sensors and easily interoperating it seamlessly with existing systems.
We also operate the world’s largest repository of air quality data and process over 10 million sensor messages per day - that’s the equivalent of one message each for the entire population of Portugal!  

Optimise employee well being

It has never been easier to measure environmental factors within buildings and analyse the data to give a fully comprehensive overview. Companies can optimise employee well being and efficiently using data from light, noise, temperature and CO2 sensors with unprecedented ease.  A win win for everyone.

Want to find out more on workspace occupancy sensors?

Learn more about how we help customers get a complete picture of workspace occupancy with our workplace utilisation data software to plan for future property investments.  
Get in touch 

Topics: Facilities & Workplace trends, Measuring space occupancy

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