People spend nearly 90% of their lives indoors, and for a majority of Americans, that inside time is in an office environment. That’s significant – and it’s the reason that it’s all the more important that companies and organizations ensure that their working environment is healthy, happy, and safe for employees.

A few weeks ago, we published a blog highlighting the tangible benefits of workplace wellness.

wellness in buildings

We shared, “the green building movement has spent 20 years focusing on 7% of a portfolio investment – building performance. But over 30 years, people inside buildings account for 93% of costs.”

It’s time to tap into this real estate value with a renewed focus on wellness. The fastest way to achieve that? Get the human resources professionals to take the reins.

HR steps in to building planning to drive workplace wellness

Though HR talks about wellness often, they are excluded from conversations of how the built environment can impact health and performance. Inviting the human component into the built environment dialogue at the start of the building planning process allows HR to become change agents and drive significant gains for the business. From the get go, HR can offer insights on functional design based on talent, roles, and staff needs. Once designed and built, HR is essential in educating occupants how to properly use the space and promote healthy programs and options to encourage attraction and retention.

Behaviorist and organizational experts are already incentivized to improve human performance. They can lead companies to improved portfolio performance by aligning wellness impact with existing goals including:

  • Attracting and retaining an engaged workforce, with particular focus on Millennials
  • Improving and measuring productivity and company transparency from a space/structural perspective
  • Containing health care costs through access to daylight, improved air quality, opportunity for movement, and other strategies
  • Outperforming competitors who don’t optimize wellness and productivity for ROI

HR + wellness = business value

Should HR really care that much about the physical environment?

Absolutely.

Why Wellness is a Priority, healthy environment

HR professionals know that achieving observable human and behavioral change is difficult. Building efficiencies are simply a structural change – and can have the same or more impact on people without all the heartache of change management.

“When we design for space, we need HR to illuminate the purpose of the space and its link to the workforce, technology, and mobility,” says Tom Paladino, CEO of Paladino and Company. “They must better position their role in the design process and advocate for their business practice in site and program planning.”

Design an environment for purpose

And HR is no longer held back by soft data in our data-driven world. HR can use hard wellness data to drive decisions around talent, and offer compelling evidence at the leadership table. The WELL Building Standard is sharing scientific studies and data that prove that quality, daylight, workspace ergonomics, movement, and access to outdoors affect cognitive function, health, productivity, engagement, and retention. Other WELL Building Standard features address operations such as sourcing of food and employee benefits, which push beyond design and construction, and get various departments in the organization, including HR, involved.

Paladino has two of the world’s first WELL APs on staff, and we are already analyzing properties around the US to determine wellness’ impact on company performance.

If HR professionals can track the built environment to human performance, it will profoundly improve previously untapped real estate value and business performance.

If you want to get a wellness conversation started, let’s get in touch.

Julie Honeywell

Julie Honeywell, SHRM-CP, is Chief Human Resources Officer at Paladino and Company. 

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