"Over the years, more and more evidence has become available that stresses the importance of the safety and wellbeing of building occupants. The mental and physical health of people in public spaces, schools and work environments is high on the agenda of many design teams.
As a business, providing a healthy and safe workspace comes with many benefits. Research shows that: “characteristics of the physical office environment can have a significant effect on behavior, perceptions and productivity of employees.”
Thus, making an effort to ensure your staff is working in an environment that benefits their health not only produces more satisfied employees, but also has a positive effect on the work they do. A classic win-win situation.
A very tangible and clear tool you can use to establish a healthy workspace is the WELL building standard.
The WELL building standard is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing. WELL uses medical and related data that explores the connection between buildings and the people that use them.
To obtain a WELL certificate, your building must achieve a passing score in each of the seven basic categories of the WELL standard.
Air: Promoting clean air and minimizing indoor air pollution.
Water: Availability of clean and safe water.
Light: Illumination guidelines for enough natural light.
Comfort: Designs for ergonomic, but also acoustic comfort.
Nourishment: Access to healthy and fresh food to support good nutrition.
Fitness: Providing opportunities for physical activity.
Mind: Design and technology to optimize emotional health. The standard also focuses on other aspects like innovation and sustainability. It looks for innovation that goes beyond the basic requirements and performs controls on materials used in cleaning for example.
To reach a passing score, changes should be made to the current workspace. This can be large, structural renovations, but this is not necessarily the first step you must take. In making a change, small adjustments or additions can make a big difference.
Air is at the top of the list of categories, and not without reason. The EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) explicitly states the importance of indoor air quality. “The link between some common indoor air pollutants …. and health effects is very well established.”
Improving your air quality should be a priority when trying to get your building WELL certified. Ensuring your building is properly ventilated is an important measure to take, but there are other changes you can make to address the indoor air pollution in your building.
When you think of air, the first thing that comes to mind might not necessarily be the floor. However, flooring and especially carpet can be of great influence on indoor air quality.
Not only does flooring collect dirt and dust that occupants walk into the building, but your floor also acts as its own air filter. Any pollution particles that dwell in the air, eventually settle onto the floor or into the carpet. Any foot traffic can easily kick all these dirt particles back up in the air, into our systems.
This issue can easily be addressed by using the right floor cleaning equipment.
It is clear that a clean and safe environment is a substantial aspect of the WELL Building Certification. Cleanliness has a significant impact on the air and water categories, but your cleaning routine can also help to target the ‘materials’ category.
This aspect of the WELL Standard requires: “the restriction of hazardous or harmful ingredients in cleaning, disinfection and sanitization products, as well as the establishment of a cleaning plan, the maintenance of a cleaning schedule and program training for staff.”
Intelligent Cleaning Equipment by ICE Cobotics can offer a solution to meet these requirements. The machines are offered through an all-inclusive subscription model through which you gain access to the i-Synergy fleet management software, service and maintenance, including parts.
This fleet management software can be a great asset to achieve and maintain a structured cleaning plan and schedule. It will provide you access to all cleaning data you need, like machine run time, square footage cleaned and machine alerts.
The collection of data allows users to work with teams to create more efficient cleaning plans, leading to better productivity, and on top of that, the use of data allows users to confirm clean. This means building occupants can be assured they are entering a clean space. This can help to achieve the routine and structure in cleaning the WELL Standard requires.
Moreover, ICE Cobotics’ Intelligent Cleaning Equipment also contributes to the restriction of harmful materials in cleaning products. Users always have the freedom to use environmentally friendly cleaning solutions that are suitable to their needs, but intelligent equipment takes sustainability a step further.
The i-Synergy machines are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which contribute to a more sustainable environment and increase the safety of staff. These batteries contain no harmful metals or acids like lead, mercury or cadmium. Besides this, they last longer than traditional (wet) lead acid batteries and are much less hazardous to charge.
Thus, adopting Intelligent Cleaning Equipment in your cleaning routine will increase your building’s cleanliness, safety and sustainability. Making this change can help target these requirements of the WELL Building Certificate.
The availability of clean and safe water is of crucial importance to human health and safety. Water is the body’s main source of nutrition, ensures it can get rid of any toxins and helps prevent diseases. Therefore, supplying your building’s occupants with a clean water supply should be a top priority.
The WELL building standard focuses on the availability of safe water in your establishment. According to the CDC, one important thing you need to do to ensure this safety is frequently test your water.
“Without regular testing, people may be exposed to contaminants without knowing it or being able to do anything about it.”
When you test the water supply system on a regular basis, you will be able to locate any gaps or issues and fix them before they might cause any exposures to harmful materials.
Our tap water is of comparatively good quality, but it can still have several impurities. Traces of metals, cleansing chemicals and odors can still be present in water, states Phoxwater.
Installing a water filter on the taps in your building can be an efficient and relatively inexpensive change you can make to address this issue. A water filter will not only make the drinking water in your building safer and cleaner, it can also help to neutralize the smell and even the color of the water. This might stimulate occupants to drink more water, which is a great benefit for their health.
Thus, access to safe and clean water not only addresses the water category on the WELL, it can also aid in targeting the fitness and nourishment categories.
If you’d like to read further, we suggest: Air Quality 101: The Importance of Indoor Air Quality