Gurugram, 13 July, 2018
- In Asia Pacific and globally, the promotion of wellness in the workplace is shifting from a corporate social responsibility consideration to a strategic priority as companies recognise the role it plays in attracting and retaining staff, thus driving business results.
With more employees making wellness a priority, owners, and occupiers will have little choice, but to follow suit in coming days, which may require some additional investment
Within Asia, different markets are at various stages of adoption of Wellness strategies. Australia and China are relative forerunners, more developed markets like Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore are continuously expanding their track records of WELL projects. Though wellness is yet to gain significant ground in emerging markets like Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines, which are still primarily focused on boosting the volume of office infrastructure, this could change quickly.
“Investments in innovative workplace wellness strategies will not only influence the wellness of existing workforce but also bring in a healthy vibrancy to attract and retain millennial talents, thus driving better business results. New technologies will also play an essential role in fostering wellness in the built environment whether through control or automation of variables like lighting and temperature, monitoring of factors like air quality and energy use. A confluence of these and more wellness factors will positively impact the efficiency and productivity levels at the workplace”, says Ravi Ahuja, Senior Executive Director, Mumbai & Developer Services at Colliers International India.
As per Colliers Research, both developers and occupiers can contribute to wellness in the workplace. Incorporating green or natural spaces in office premises, equipping developments with advanced air quality monitoring and ventilation systems, integrating low VOC and sustainable materials into building design, taking steps to enhance the connectivity of developments to public transit and providing facilities to encourage proper transportation, etc. are few key initiatives that a developers should focus on in order to enhance the health and quality of living of the occupants. On the other hand, the occupiers should also consider adopting few significant measures such as appropriate lighting for specific activities or use of circadian lighting systems, providing designated fitness/exercise areas, healthy menu choices, developing incentive programs that encourage employees to adopt wearable technologies to monitor and improve key health indicators and create an online community where staff can access and exchange pertinent workplace-related health information.
New technologies can play an essential role in fostering wellness in the built environment, whether through control or automation of variables like lighting and temperature, or the monitoring of factors like air quality and energy use. This will ultimately contribute positively to business results by reducing the usage of utilities as well as health or productivity-related losses. Wearable, health apps, online fitness communities and knowledge portals can also empower employees to take greater responsibility for their health and support. However, pursuing wellness and implementing enabling technologies, owners and occupiers will inevitably encounter challenges. Some will be physical or infrastructure-related such as the difficulty of retrofitting an ageing building, with more environment-friendly materials while others will have more to do with financial constraints or changing mindsets like building awareness of a new fitness incentive program among employees or convincing the finance department of the organisation.
“In India, employee wellness concerns among corporates have slowly made headway. Corporates are increasingly offering wellness programmes for their employees such as health checkups, dietary advice, personalised counselling sessions as well as tele counselling sessions. Some of the companies are providing facilities such as gym and healthy food choices in their cafeterias. Although, it is just a beginning, these wellness programs have proven to be a useful device for change at work. As more and more employees are making wellness a priority, owners, and occupiers will have little choice but to adopt it” says Surabhi Arora, Senior Associate Director, Research at Colliers International India.
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