By Katie Lowery, LEED AP, WELL AP, Director, Integrated Control Systems, Shareholder
Most likely, you are familiar with LEED building certification – the comprehensive green building certification program that helps lessen harm to the environment as a result of the construction process.
Now, transcend that sustainable ethos beyond structures alone to include mankind, and here is where The International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI™) enters the picture. The WELL Building Standard focuses solely on the health and wellness of a building’s occupants, ensuring that their built environment has a positive impact on their well-being. As I’ve been working from home over the past month, it’s obvious that these same principles – originally conceived for our workplace environments - can apply to the home environment, too. Version 1 of the WELL Building Standard provides 7 concepts of wellness. Here are some simple ways to improve your at-home experience:
- Air – changing the filter on your home furnace will provide you with cleaner air to breathe. When outdoor conditions are suitable (and you’re not an allergy-sufferer), open your windows.
- Water – having access to clean drinking water is important. Filtered water can be purchased or many at-home refrigerators already include filtration on their dispensers. Consider also purchasing filters that connect through your kitchen tap or simply use water pitchers with built-in filtration. In all cases, make sure the filter hasn’t reached the end of its usable life. Additionally, WELL stresses the importance of water accessibility so keep a glass of water next to your workspace – you may be surprised at how much more water you drink when it’s readily available.
- Nourishment – make sure your at-home food choices include fruits and veggies and keep these as the most visible options. Additionally, when purchasing snacks, if a grain flour is the primary ingredient, look for snacks that use whole grain and keep all single-serving snacks and beverages below 30g of sugar.
- Light – choose a workspace that has plenty of natural light. When that’s not possible, ensure you have adequate electric lighting and use a task light where you can. Also make a point to take small breaks in the afternoon in places that have natural light to keep your body’s natural circadian rhythm in sync.
- Fitness – stay active by getting outside to walk or jog or bike, or make a point to participate in other physical exercise. YouTube contains many at-home workout videos that require no equipment.
- Comfort – where possible, choose a quiet workspace and dress appropriately for the room temperature. If your at-home workstation chair is giving you grief, consider stacking books or boxes to create a standing-workstation option for parts of the day.
- Mind – set up your workstation in a room that brings you happiness. Love the space that you’re in by bringing in elements that are meaningful to you or bring you joy. And as always, make sure you’re getting enough sleep!
Since 2017, Strang has been a leading practitioner of WELL™ designed facilities, transforming our buildings and communities in ways which empower us to live healthier, safer, and more productive lives.