April 26, 2017
A major research study into Health and Wellbeing in offices has been launched by the British Council for Offices (BCO). “Wellness Matters: Health and Wellbeing in offices and what to do about it” is a year-long project which aims to provide definitive guidance on how to enable office Health and Wellbeing across a building’s lifecycle. The major research study has been commissioned to critique existing Health and Wellbeing measurement and certification, identify the most recent and relevant medical evidence justifying a proactive approach to Health and Wellbeing in the built environment, and give guidance on the business case for investment in this space beyond simply improving productivity. Most significantly, this research aims to deliver a practical guide to creating a healthy environment across the different stages of a building’s life cycle, from design, construction and leasing to the most important aspect by time and value: occupation and asset management.
The project, which will culminate in the publication of a report in March 2018, will be led by a consortium comprising architecture and design firm Perkins+Will, sustainability consultancy Sentinel RPI and Elementa Consulting, backed by medical and academic input from Royal Brompton, Imperial College and Queen Mary University. The findings will also inform the next BCO Guide to Specification, which is the industry-recognised standard for best practice in office development across the UK, also due to be published in 2018.
Bill Page, Chairman of the British Council for Offices’ Research Committee, commented: “The health and wellness agenda is, rightly, growing in importance and prominence. ‘Wellness Matters’ will respond to this, and will look to provide practical advice to BCO members on the issues surrounding Health and Wellbeing in offices and what they can do about it.
“There is still a perception in the industry that Health and Wellbeing is ‘just something an occupier does in its fit-out and staff management’ and by association investors, developers and designers need not concern themselves. We fundamentally challenge that – there are opportunities throughout a building’s lifecycle to enable change.
Successful intervention should manifest in shorter voids for developers; greater income retention for investors and healthier, happier staff for occupiers who will gain from better recruitment and retention.”
Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive of the BCO, said: “We’re pleased to announce the commencement of this landmark research, and the appointment of the consortium that will lead it. The winning team offer both academic rigour and engineering know-how, along with enthusiasm for the subject matter and its impact. We look forward to working together over the coming year to deliver what will be one of the BCO’s most significant studies”