One in six office workers believes that their workplace is having a negative impact on their health and wellbeing, states the BCO study. Although 96 per cent indicated that workplace health and well-being is important to them, fewer than half of the respondents feel that their workplace is having a positive impact on their health.
Significantly, 17 per cent believe that the working environment is diminishing their personal well-being. Wellness matters: Health and Well-being in Offices and What to Do About It is one of the largest pieces of research ever undertaken by the industry. It took a year to complete and is believed to have cost in the region of £100,000.
Launched at the BCO’s annual conference in Berlin last summer, the study says that businesses that are willing to invest in health and well-being are reaping the rewards of increased productivity, lower costs from illness – and an enhanced reputation. It also includes lessons for government, quantifying the impact of office wellness through reduced costs in health and social care and increased productivity.
Rob Groves of property developer Argent and chairman of the BCO Midlands and East Anglia committee, said: "The work achieved in this study represents a significant step forward in the industry's understanding of health and well-being and provides a definitive guide on how to tackle the issue.”
The report critiques existing health and well-being measurement and certification. It identifies the most recent and relevant medical evidence justifying a proactive approach to health and well-being in the built environment and articulates the business case for investment in this space beyond simply improving productivity.
The research also delivers a practical and professional guide to creating a healthy environment across the different stages of a building's life cycle, from design, construction and leasing to occupation and asset management. While the data does not suggest a workplace wellness crisis, it does suggest that opportunities to improve health and well-being are being missed.