Businesses in Atlanta are stepping up to combat these issues by conforming to the new WELL Building Standard, a set of regulations aimed at making buildings healthier for staff members, residents and visitors.
What is the WELL Building Standard?
The International WELL Building Institute describes the WELL standard as “the first … of its kind” to focus “solely on the health and wellness of building occupants.” The standard uses 100 “performance metrics, design strategies and policies” to assess and improve the overall wellness levels of buildings. Each aspect can be adopted in new or existing structures, making it possible for established businesses to offer healthier environments to employees and builders to design and execute better plans for future construction.
The details of the WELL standard are very specific, with requirements focusing on seven key categories:
Each category has a list of areas in which upgrades can be made, right down to the color quality of a building’s lights and the quantity of fruits and vegetables served in onsite cafeterias or eateries.
Which Atlanta Businesses are Adopting WELL?
In Atlanta, real estate company JLL is a pioneer in the effort to make WELL a standard for buildings throughout the city. Because the standard is designed to be adaptable to all kinds of establishments, not just offices, it could theoretically be adopted in every public structure if a solid plan for implementation is created.
Currently, JLL is working with businesses like Interface, Inc. to create new buildings meeting the WELL standard. The company’s headquarters in Midtown Atlanta is “the quintessential WELL project,” according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, and includes many structural details designed to meet the stringent requirements of the standard.
How Can WELL Change the Health of Atlanta’s Workers?
Studies like one out of Harvard University showing companies can save $2.73 for every $1 they spend on well-designed health programs hint at the impact the WELL standard could have. By bringing healthier food onsite, granting access to fitness classes and equipment, upgrading to more comfortable furnishings and reducing both noise and light pollution, businesses invest in the long-term health of their employees. Better health means fewer sick days and injury claims, as well as increased productivity.
Although conforming to WELL standards is still in the beginning stages in and around Atlanta, the benefits have the potential to be far-reaching over time. A healthier workforce can translate to a more robust economy, and improved working conditions are likely to attract more talented candidates to the area, helping businesses grow and achieve their long-term goals.
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