• International Workplace
  • 16 May 2017

Health and wellbeing in offices – major study announced

The British Council for Offices (BCO) has announced a major, year-long study into health and wellbeing in offices with the aim of providing definitive guidance on how to create a healthy environment across a building’s lifecycle, from design, construction and leasing to occupation and asset management.

The research study, Wellness Matters: Health and Wellbeing in offices and what to do about it, will 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.

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 on the issues surrounding wealth and wellbeing in offices and what can be done 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.”