Healthy Buildings: why now is the time for employers to take action

As people begin to return to the office in larger numbers, Priva’s latest healthy buildings white paper explains why businesses should be prioritizing the use of new technologies to create healthier workplaces.

The last 18 months have encouraged organizations everywhere to think about health and wellbeing. From the immediate impact of the ‘lockdowns’ to the slow return to workplaces and the advent of hybrid working, the pandemic has compelled us all to think about our relationship to indoor spaces.

For employers this has brought a lot of practical challenges. However, the more progressive ones will see plenty of opportunities too. It’s with this in mind that Priva has published a new white paper devised specifically to encourage employers to address some of those possibilities – and the technologies that can make them happen.

Entitled ‘Healthy Buildings: why now is the time to invest in building management technologies’, the white paper is available to download free from the Priva website (https://www.priva.com/discover-priva/stay-informed/white-papers/healthy-workplaces). Whether your building is an office building, school, hospital or museum, it makes the case that a healthy and comfortable indoor climate is essential. As well as making employees happier and more productive, a workplace fitted with the latest building technologies is certain to deliver reduced energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Therefore, it is not hard to see why achieving a healthier workplace is – as the white paper observes – “a wise move ethically, practically and financially.”

Alert on absenteeism

Long before the pandemic struck, the number of working days being lost to physical and mental illness had been a source of concern for some time. Rates of absence had been high in many countries, including the Netherlands, where sick leave has affected as many as 47% of employees and cost employers 11.5 billion euros per year (source: Dutch Green Building Council).

Statistics like these have given the workplace wellness debate much of its recent momentum. From air quality preferences to lighting levels that aid concentration, there has been a lot of study about the elements that make up a healthy workspace. Increasingly, too, there has been a recognition that new technologies – from LED lighting to building management systems – are crucial to achieving these improvements.

It’s a safe bet that, in the post-pandemic world, the focus on these issues will be even stronger. Hybrid working will mean workplaces have to maintain safety levels while also becoming more flexible. Employers keen to have staff back in the office will need to show they have taken steps to enhance internal climate and comfort. Then, in the longer-term, it is the employers who continue to take this subject seriously who will be advantaged in securing top talent.

In short, we are on the cusp of a profound shift in our working lives. In that spirit the white paper provides a wealth of advice for employers looking to chart a successful course through these changes. For example, there is extensive coverage of the widely acclaimed 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building – as defined by Dr. Joseph Allen’s team at the University of Harvard – and the benchmarking provided by initiatives like the WELL Building Standard and the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).

Our white paper also looks in detail at some of the technologies – including integrated building management systems – that can deliver major improvements to employers for relatively small investments. We’ll explore this key part of the white paper in the next Priva blog.

White paper: Healthy Buildings

Read our white paper and learn why now is the time to invest in building management technologies

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