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Study Shows Business Case for Health and Wellness

  August 2, 2018

By Greg Zimmerman

A new study by the Urban Land Institute titled “The Business Case For Healthy Buildings” shows the way focusing on health and wellness in buildings can result in healthier, happier, and — most notably — more productive occupants.

Seventy percent of occupants say a healthy workspace design helped them complete more tasks in a day, and employee turnover dropped by a third, according to the study, which looked at WELL-certified CBRE office space in Vancouver and Toronto, found that Strategies adopted included giving occupants more access to natural light, sit-stand desks, and fruit delivery, among other features.

The study also looked at design firm Arup’s WELL, Fitwel, and LEED-certified office space in Boston. At this space, the cost for WELL was about $0.25 per square foot, $6,500 for Fitwel, and 2-3 percent of development costs for LEED. The return on that investment, according to the study, is that 83 percent of staff thought the new office “supported creative thinking and collaboration.” That compares to only 37 percent in the company’s previous space. About 68 percent of workers said productivity was positively influenced by “environmental conditions in the areas of comfort, lighting, and air quality.” That’s compared to only 8 percent in the previous space.

The value proposition for increasing productivity, according to the study is that for most office tenants, a 1-2 percent improvement in productivity is worth more than $1 per square foot per year. Also, a 1-2 percent reduction in employee turnover can save tenants $1 per square foot in avoided recruitment, hiring, and training costs of new employees.

This Quick Read was submitted by Greg Zimmerman, executive editor, Building Operating Management. Read his recent story about the new LEED v4.1 rating system.


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