How? Where? WELL!

Growing awareness and enhanced technologies help integrate wellness into the workplace – and highlight the results

HOW? WHERE? WELL!

Wellness is no longer a ‘nice to have.’ As building owners and occupiers throughout the region embrace wellness initiatives to attract and retain customers and employees, the focus has shifted from ‘what’ wellness is or ‘why’ it’s important, to ‘how’ to build effective wellness programmes, and quantify the benefits to employee and enterprise performance.

Based on the input of both real estate and wellness experts, this report explores the practices and innovative technologies that are supporting enterprises on this journey.

How the intersection of people and technology can advance wellness in the workplace

As the impact of wellness on productivity and the bottom line becomes clear wellness has become a vital consideration for forward-thinking Asia Pacific enterprises. More developers and occupiers in the region are using leading international standards as benchmarks as they aim to create new model workplaces. Enabling and empowering technologies have emerged that can accelerate these efforts, but attention must also be paid to the human element in wellness initiatives as they run into, and leap over, challenges. There are questions about where wellness goes next but the outlook is positive, with technologies and standards set to develop further and both owners and occupiers responding to the increasing priority placed on health by the millennial workforce.

A vital consideration

Evidence that workplace health and environmental quality are closely linked to productivity levels and cognitive performance mean it is a factor that companies cannot afford to ignore. Yet as a vast field encompassing the mental, physical and built environment, wellness needs to be approached systematically, making the most of the growing pool of new enabling standards and technologies available.

“While technology has in many respects made work (and daily life) more sedentary, it is also giving rise to innovative solutions that can support the wellness transformation, and empower owners and occupiers to make rapid progress in their efforts to foster better working environments.”

“It’s crucial to create a wellness strategy that’s core to a business and its employees, and not just an add-on. This will help practitioners narrow the gap between the growing understanding of the field of wellness and effectively executing it.”
Victoria Gilbert, Associate Director, Wellness Consulting, Corporate Solutions, Colliers International

Getting off to the right start

Effective wellness programmes incorporate several key considerations from the earliest planning stages - including alignment with business goals, commitment from management and other stakeholders, and ongoing communication

 

“It’s crucial to create a wellness strategy that’s core to a business and its employees, and not just an add-on. This will help practitioners narrow the gap between the growing understanding of the field of wellness and effectively executing it.”

Victoria Gilbert, Associate Director, Wellness Consulting, Corporate Solutions, Colliers International

Developments in practice

Innovations are steadily opening new wellness possibilities across several dimensions of the workplace, including spaces (air quality monitoring), organisations (combined mental-physical wellness programmes) and individuals (wearable devices).

 

“We drink on average three liters of water a day, but we breathe up to 15,000 liters of air every day. People don’t actually realise it but the impact of air quality on health is big."

Joelle Chen, Director, Global Partnerships & Marketing, OurAir at MANN+HUMMEL

“We drink on average three liters of water a day, but we breathe up to 15,000 liters of air every day. People don’t actually realise it but the impact of air quality on health is big."

Joelle Chen, Director, Global Partnerships & Marketing, OurAir at MANN+HUMMEL

“We create a space and an experience for our members that makes them feel comfortable and allows them to be more productive … The market is saturated right now so creating an environment that entices people to stay longer is really important, and of course longer retention positively impacts our bottom line.”

Chelsea Perino, Managing Director of Global Marketing and Communications, The Executive Centre

Building blocks

For landlords, embedding wellness features into workspace design has become a commercial imperative as they respond to occupier demands in an increasingly competitive market - particularly in the flexible workspace sector.

 

“We create a space and an experience for our members that makes them feel comfortable and allows them to be more productive … The market is saturated right now so creating an environment that entices people to stay longer is really important, and of course longer retention positively impacts our bottom line.”

Chelsea Perino, Managing Director of Global Marketing and Communications, The Executive Centre

Stronger foundations and metrics

Technology is providing a growing number of ways to assess the impacts of wellness programmes on both well-being and the bottom line. But owners and occupiers also need to consider the views of the people these programmes target.

 

“It’s great we can use technology to measure everything. But we shouldn’t lose the human element and the element of trust in our bodies’ ability to communicate to us what is working and what isn’t,”

Rachael Lau, Founder, ByoBeat

“It’s great we can use technology to measure everything. But we shouldn’t lose the human element and the element of trust in our bodies’ ability to communicate to us what is working and what isn’t,”

Rachael Lau, Founder, ByoBeat

THE WELL BUILDING STANDARD

air

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Air quality standards, smoking ban, effective ventilation, use of non-toxic/antimicrobial materials/surfaces

WATER

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Water quality and treatment, drinking water promotion

NOURISHMENT

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Quality/health properties of food sold or provided on the premises, presence of nutritional information, design of dining areas

LIGHT

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Access to natural light and windows, management of lighting brightness/intensity to support circadian rhythms

MOVEMENT

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Encouraging movement throughout the day and reducing sedentary behaviours - space layout, furniture types, fitness equipment, and physical activity incentives

THERMAL & COMFORT

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Quality/health properties of food sold or provided on the premises, presence of nutritional information, design of dining areas

MIND

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Increased support for mental health in the workplace - policy, programme and design strategies

SOUND

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Increase acoustical comfort - sound barriers, acoustic planning, noise reduction, sound masking

MATERIALS

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Limit use of hazardous building materials, promotion of healthy replacements

COMMUNITY

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Promotion of workplace healthcare, social equity, community engagement and accessibility

A Six-Step Path to Wellness Success

PIONEERING WELL PROJECTS IN ASIA PACIFIC

TOKYO | TECHNO-STATION

Certified: 2018, Developer-led

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Energy-saving, programmable lighting systems; thermal ‘buffer zones’ around windows to reduce air-conditioning use; standing desks

SHANGHAI | HAWORTH KERRY CENTER ORGANIC OFFICE AND SHOWROOM

Certified: 2016 Occupier-led

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Air duct filtration system; height-adjustable tables and ergonomic chairs; natural wood surfaces and greenery

SYDNEY | 200 GEORGE STREET

Certified: 2017, Developer-led

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Advanced fiber-optic pressure sensors to monitor air quality; 75% of workspaces located with 7.5 metres of a window; Dedicated wellness seminars and library; Over 1 plant per person

SINGAPORE | PAYA LEBAR QUARTER

Registered: 2017 Developer-led

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100,000 sq ft of public green space; showers, lockers and bicycle lots to promote activity; enhanced air filtration; floor to ceiling glazing

HONG KONG | CITI TOWER, ONE BAY EAST

Certified: 2018, Occupier-led

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Activity incentive programs; collaborative workspaces; food and beverage facilities with food preparation areas and nutritional information

Wellness is quickly becoming a forefront of Workplace Strategy.

Colliers’ Victoria Gilbert discusses how wellness is integral to a business’s bottom line and ability to attract and retain talent in a conversation with Mediacorp Pte Ltd 938NOW's podcast.

 

Why is it important for office developers and occupiers to implement wellness initiatives into the built environment?

Colliers' Victoria Gilbert shares more in a conversation with MONEY FM 89.3

 

“Wellness in the workplace is about looking at people as human beings – looking at what they need to thrive and survive, and be their most productive.”

More companies are embracing the mindset of incorporating wellness in their Workplace Strategy and design, especially to cater to millennials. Colliers’ Victoria Gilbert, together with Dom Fredrick Andaya, share with ABS-CBN Corporation’s Cathy Yang on how wellness design is becoming an intrinsic part of business strategy.

 

Victoria Gilbert @ ULI Asia Pacific Summit

Watch Victoria Gilbert lead a fast-paced PechaKucha Session at the 2018 ULI Asia Pacific Summit, honing in on how the intersection of people and smart technology can create wellness in the workplace.

 

KEY FINDINGS

  • To maximize the efficacy and impact of wellness initiatives, both landlords and tenants should strategically examine employee needs as well as alignment with long terms business priorities
  • Landlords can reference emerging wellness features and new building standards serve as benchmarks for future projects.
  • Tenants can utilize mobile platforms and apps to underpin organizational initiatives which reinforce healthy workplace behaviors.
  • Both quantitative assessment using technology tools and qualitative feedback from end-users are of equal value in gauging the success of wellness programmes.

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