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BCO to launch ‘Wellness Matters’ research

The British Council for Offices (BCO) is to launch its highly-anticipated ‘Wellness Matters’ research to a Scottish audience on September 5 with a comprehensive tour of the brand new £1 billion Gilmorehill teaching estate at the University of Glasgow.

The study – ‘Wellness Matters: Health and Wellbeing in offices and what to do about it’ – provides definitive guidance on how to enable health and wellbeing across an office building’s lifecycle.

The research will be exemplified by a tour of the current development project at University of Glasgow to create world-class teaching, learning and research space.

The research critiques existing health and wellbeing measurement and certification; identifies the most recent and relevant medical evidence justifying a proactive approach to health and wellbeing in the built environment, and articulates the business case for investment in this space beyond simply improving productivity. Most significantly, this research delivers a practical guide to creating a healthy environment across the different stages of a building’s lifecycle, from design, construction and leasing to the most important aspect by time and value: occupation and asset management.

The report was led by a consortium of Sentinel RPI, Elementa Consulting, Perkins+Will and Will+Partners and backed by medical and academic input from Royal Brompton, Imperial College and Queen Mary University. Evidence was reviewed from the USA, Europe and globally

The findings will inform the next BCO Guide to Specification, which is the industry-recognised standard for best practice in office development across the UK, also due to be published in early 2019.

Bill Ritchie, chair of the British Council for Offices in Scotland, and who helped define the research brief, said: “The ‘wellness’ agenda is, rightly, growing in prominence as the office sector looks to meet occupiers’ evolving needs. ‘Wellness Matters’ responds to this, providing practical guidance on the complexities surrounding health and wellbeing in offices.

“Health and wellbeing is no longer being seen as ‘just something an occupier does in its fit-out and staff management’ – and which, by association, investors, developers and designers need not concern themselves. This report fundamentally challenges this perception and demonstrates that there are opportunities throughout a building’s entire lifecycle to enable change.

“Making these changes are proven to result in in shorter voids for developers; greater income retention for investors and healthier, happier staff for occupiers who will gain from better recruitment and retention.”

Ann Allen, executive director of estates and commercial services at University of Glasgow, added: “We are delighted to be hosting this event at the University of Glasgow; it is becoming increasingly clear that creating a workplace that supports and encourages collaboration and diverse ways of working is important in all working environments and there is a lot to learn from the crossover of University workspace and office workspace.”

Highlights from the study include lessons for government. In creating the Wellness Matters Roadmap it became clear that the benefits from improved office wellness – and the costs of a failure to act – flow not only to individuals and organisations, but also to communities and the country as a whole. These impacts can be quantified, for example through reduced costs of health and social care and increased productivity.

The launch of ‘Wellness Matters’ will take place at University of Glasgow on Wednesday 5 September at with registration at 5pm.

To register for a place at the event, please visit: http://www.bco.org.uk/Events/Events.aspx.

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