It has been only two months since the Actiu Technology Park was awarded its WELL Platinum Certification, which accredits it as a healthy space that ensures the well-being of its users, namely its workers. The process, which began in 2017, was rather lengthy because the decision was made to comply with the new version 2 introduced by the WELL Building Standard in 2018. Actiu headquarters became one of the first buildings in the world to obtain it.
WELL is the first architectural standard focused on promoting health and it entails “going from considering the environmental impact of a building to considering the impact a space has on people and implementing actions aimed at achieving the well-being of its users and taking care of their health”, explains Pablo Amorós, head of Corporate Well-being at Actiu. In the case of Actiu, having earned a LEED Platinum certification, which is focused on energy efficiency and environmental impact, already ensured compliance with some of the 117 requirements included in the WELL standard.
Actiu WELL Platinum: what a WELL environment is like
“At Actiu sustainability and well-being are in our DNA, as evidenced by the fact that we already complied with many of the requirements set by this standard”, remarks Pablo Amorós. Some are not visible, despite the fact that they have a direct effect on the health of users, such as those relating to air or water quality: “When we present what we are doing to obtain the certification, many people ask me whether air and water are of better quality than at their homes and the answer is yes”.
Another important measure is the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. This is done passively, through messages placed at meeting areas that encourage healthy eating so that by reading them on a daily basis, workers can internalize them. But also by providing free fruit and vegetables every morning at convenient places or by installing water dispensers near work areas.
To promote exercise, besides having a gym, the first thing someone entering the corporate space sees is the stairs and messages have been placed there encouraging their use to prevent the sedentary lifestyle associated to office work.
Workers’ well-being = motivation and talent
The main motivation for Actiu to embark on this procedure was to provide greater well-being to employees, as this has a direct effect on productivity and the efficiency of the company. For Pablo Amorós, “having a space where people feel comfortable while working is one of the most powerful motivating weapons. And a motivated team will be a team that will deliver more”. Space thus becomes a tool for recruiting and retaining talent”.
Actiu’s Well-being Committee and the role of workers
Pablo was responsible for coordinating the working team made up of representatives of different departments throughout the process of obtaining the WELL certification, which has resulted in the creation of the Internal Well-being Committee. Every other week they meet to evaluate the actions that are being implemented – a continuous monitoring that makes it possible that immediate action can be taken when a gap is identified.
For Pablo Amorós, the key so that everyone in the company feels involved and informed lies in good internal communication work to transmit measures though meetings and training. Besides, at Actiu a suggestion box has been introduced relating to the 10 WELL concepts through which employees can put forward their proposals for improvement and that are then addressed by the committee in their meetings.
Creating a community
One of the new items in version 2 of the WELL certification is creating a community. Besides the regular team building activities that take place at La Venta Flores, a renovated farmstead – thus moving away from the workplace environment – the gym has led to a team environment, with annual gatherings. The park is also open to a variety of educational organisations, government agencies, companies… “During the visit we explain how this space has been designed using architectural and interior design criteria with a view to promoting well-being”.
User well-being: a growing trend
For Pablo Amorós the concern for well-being is undoubtedly here to stay: “Anything relating to the concern for health and well-being is a consolidating trend and has come to stay. Like in the case of sustainability a few years ago, this is going to become a must for every company”. Actiu, as an international benchmark in designing and equipping work spaces, already put well-being at the forefront when designing furniture by combining an aesthetic concern with ergonomics and health to generate well-being in users.