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Get WELL in this Time of Crisis & Beyond


Picture of modern office
Image: Jacob Lund -
As I noted in this related WorkSpace Connect post, the need to develop office buildings and workplaces that place employee health and well-being front and center cannot be understated given today’s COVID-19 crisis.
It’s timely, then, that the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) has been able to launch WELL v2, the latest version of its globally accepted building rating system, as announced last week. IWBI calls WELL v2 the “most resilient and responsive” version of its standard to date.
Like its predecessor, WELL v2 looks to optimize health and well-being through building/office design, operational protocols and policies, and culture, the IWBI stated. WELL v2 not only consolidates previous iterations into a single rating system for all project types and sectors but also will evolve over time, gaining in “specificity and specialty” to keep pace with the latest learnings around public health.
COVID-19 has served as an example of how WELL v2 will evolve with the times. IWBI tasked a group of hundreds of thought leaders and experts from 30 countries to assess how the standard might adapt to better support prevention and preparedness, as well as resiliency and recovery. The task force crowdsourced thousands of comments during a 40-day sprint, IWBI said.
WELL v2 centers on 10 concepts core to optimizing health and well-being. These cross from the world of real estate/facilities into HR: air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind, and community. Getting granular, each feature within these concepts is:
  • Underscored by evidence linking design, policy, and building-centric strategies to health and well-being outcomes
  • Verified by Green Business Certification, through documentation and performance testing, as appropriate
  • Tested through the WELL v1 or WELL v2 pilot; since the v2 pilot became available in 2018, IWBI reports that nearly 3,500 projects have registered for the certification process under it
  • Includes third-party input from health and design practitioners, subject matter experts, and others
As IWBI states, “WELL is an investment in the world’s most valuable asset — people.” Here at WorkSpace Connect, we couldn’t agree with the organization’s stance that real estate, operations, HR, and the C-suite, among others, must come together and align themselves around a vision for employee health and well-being.