The role of buildings and technology in enhancing occupant wellbeing

Smart Building

The COVID-19 crisis has turned cleaning protocols into a major focus for building operations. However, in addition to cleaning, we are seeing a growing emphasis on overall occupant wellbeing. A more resilient workforce, contributing to wellness and happiness can even drive business productivity and profits. What makes this type of building wellness so attractive is that healthy buildings can support all building occupants, typically without requiring much effort.

So what actually makes a building healthy? Nine foundational aspects have been identified by the Harvard School of Public Health, and these are: ventilation, air quality, water quality, thermal health, dust and pests, lighting and views, noise, moisture, safety, and security2.

Promoting Wellness in Buildings

One clear reason to focus on buildings as a component of wellness is that people spend most of their life indoors. For example, Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors4. Due to the large amount of time we spend indoors, we are exposed to even more outdoor pollutants while inside buildings than we are when we are outside5. Promoting healthy indoor environments through continuous monitoring of indoor environmental quality, which necessarily reduces these health risks, can have long-term benefits for building occupant health.

Additionally, these effects branch out to the current pandemic. Research indicates that stability of viruses, is sensitive to temperature and humidity. Extreme humidity and low temperatures can slow the rate of viral decay, so controlling the indoor environment is a key component of public health.

It’s also important to mention the fact that indoor air quality has been shown to enhance cognitive function, and even to reduce the risk of disease transmission. Healthy buildings are key for both occupant happiness and well being as well as for business productivity and prosperity.

Technology in the Wellness Landscape

Workplace technology-types such as occupancy, motion detection and people counting sensors, together with indoor air monitoring can significantly contribute to a more productive, user-friendly workplace that puts employee wellness front and center. With COVID-19 increasing concerns over health risks in the office, tools that enable transparency regarding the workplace environment are becoming increasingly more valuable.

Let’s talk about wellness in your buildings

If you’re interested in more content around health and wellness in the workplace, we would love to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to contact us to share ideas for topics, or to get in touch with our wellness experts.

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