Workplace wellness in the physical space

Organisations are increasingly realising that employee wellbeing starts with the office – literally.

With companies increasingly focus on developing robust health and wellness programs, the shift to holistic employee wellbeing is also demonstrating an influence over physical infrastructure.

According to commercial real estate services group CBRE, more companies across the Asia Pacific region are thinking about staff wellness when designing new offices and/or facilities.

 “While people have a longer life expectancy, people are generally less healthy with insufficient exercise and more obesity issues, which may affect staff performance and engagement at work.  As a result, companies are taking into consideration wellness features in a property’s design and performance in order to attract and retain the best talent, and create a more productive and engaged workforce,” said Ada Choi, Director of Research, CBRE Asia Pacific.

The firm suggests that this more holistic approach to workplace wellness is the right way to go, as it addresses factors that affect employee engagement and wellbeing: physical environment (such as office setting and exercise opportunities), policy and culture (such as flexible working), and health benefits.

“For businesses, employees are a valuable asset; investing in them, and helping to improve their wellbeing is indispensable. Embracing a longer-term strategy of workplace wellness can drive fundamental change and have a lasting impact on the bottom line,” said Craig Hudleston, Executive Managing Director, Asset Services, CBRE Asia Pacific.

Organisations interested in adopting “healthier” real estate for better performance and engagement have the option of registering for the International WELL Building Institute’s WELL Building Standard. This is a certification which focuses on how infrastructure impacts on the health and wellbeing of potential occupants in categories such as air, comfort, and fitness.

According to CBRE, almost 150 projects in the Asia Pacific region have registered for the standard, with the vast majority – two-thirds – hailing from China, followed next by Australia. However, factors such as air quality (in India and China) and workplace stress (Japan and South Korea) are proving to be barriers to qualifying for the standard.


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