Workplace wellness makes strides in Asia Pacific
Employee health and wellbeing is taking on a greater focus in the Asia Pacific region, affecting real estate decision making as more companies adopt wellness programs and invest in physical infrastructure to benefit their employees, according to a September Wellness in the Asia Pacific workplace report by CBRE Research.
The trend toward greater workplace wellness is taking hold as “social, demographic and technological change drive a more productive approach to managing health and wellbeing,” notes the report. In addition to promoting a more engaged and productive workforce, Asia Pacific companies are also driven to invest in enhanced physical infrastructure and wellness programs to help “attract and retain the best talent,” given research has shown a greater emphasis by potential employees, such as millennials, on wellness when considering jobs.
According to CBRE Research’s 2016 Asia Pacific Occupier Survey, about 30 percent of regional occupiers currently run wellness programs, with an additional 30 percent expressing strong interest in implementing such programs in the near term.
While there are a number of “quick solutions” to wellness firms can offer — e.g., promoting flexible and remote working, offering healthy cafeteria and vending machine food options, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, holding walking meetings to aid creative thinking, etc. — companies may also choose to adopt the International WELL Building Institute’s WELL Building Standard. This standard comprises more than 100 features across the seven key factors (air, water, light, comfort, fitness, nourishment and mind) that go to the heart of how a building’s design and operation affects human behavior as it relates to health and wellness, states the report.
Launched in 2014, nearly 500 projects worldwide have registered to attain WELL Building Standard certification, with 161 of those projects located in the Asia Pacific region as of September 2017. But earning certification can take time, and the industry is still experiencing some growing pains as it adapts to these standards, so only 35 out of the total 500 registrants have actually obtained WELL certification, according to CBRE Research.