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How can you turn your office into a WELL-certified space?

How can you turn your office into a WELL-certified space?

MARCH 2017 | 5 minutes

Actiu has opened a new showroom in Valencia in association with the CBRE consultancy firm. It unveiled its new installations in an information day which dealt with LEED and the new WELL certification.

The new Actiu showroom in the city of Valencia is already open to anyone who wants to discover this way of understanding office equipment and contract spaces in the “Capital of the Turia”, thanks to Actiu's collaboration with the CBRE consultancy firm.

The inauguration day, held on Thursday, 9th March, and based around the LEED and WELL certifications, featured the participation of different experts who explained their experience in the attainment of these certificates.

Actiu. The first European LEED industry to seek WELL certification

In 2011, Actiu become an industrial benchmark in sustainable architecture and respect for the environment in Europe. Its Technological Park, situated in Castalla, was granted this recognition on account of its efficient resource management. “For us, being a LEED-certified company is not about having a certificate. It is the recognition of a way of thinking, of understanding the company and its impact on the environment”, explained Soledad Berbegal, director of strategic communication at Actiu. “Now, we are going to go one step further. We want to become a WELL company, which is a company which safeguards the wellbeing of its workers at all times. It is only through doing this that we can be capable of exporting our ‘Cool Working’ philosophy with full practical knowledge”, she concluded. 

What is WELL certification?
If LEED certification evaluates the exterior of buildings - reduction in energy consumption, the sustainability of buildings and so on - WELL certification evaluates their interior. “WELL analyses all of the variables which have a direct effect on the physical and psychological wellbeing of people in the inside of its offices and assesses whether the company provides sufficient measures for this", explained Patricia Fuertes, architect and CBRE sustainability specialist.

“90% of a company's expenditure impacts directly on employees. Investing in their health and wellbeing is investing in those employees themselves: in their efficiency and productivity. And, of course, in the company itself”. Patricia Fuertes.

WELL certification is currently extremely important, but it will become even more so in the next ten years, when it will become a real talent retention weapon and when 80% of workers will be Millennials, that is to say, those born between the 1980s and 2000s. “They are digital and technological natives who expect to work in a different way, with solutions that are based around their needs. We need to create tailored offices, with open spaces in which they can settle freely, thus promoting communication and the sharing of knowledge. Offices which will inspire them, and make them think that ‘I'm motivated to work here, because they have designed this space for me’, and for that reason they will want to continue working in them”, explained Mario Núñez, director of regional office construction at CBRE.

For Soledad Berbegal, the idea of applying WELL certification to the company does not only involve the offices. It extends to all departments: “We must study our own company so that we can make it professional and seek productivity on all levels, right from production, packaging, logistics and set-up. We don't want WELL to stop at the offices”, explained the director of strategic communication at Actiu.

“‘Cool Working’ is the tool that we have employed to design, beginning with furnishing, spaces which respond to a better company organisation and in which the wellbeing of employees fosters greater efficiency and productivity”. Soledad Berbegal

The WELL certification, until now not well-established in Spain, considers every factor that can directly affect the wellbeing of employees. “The WELL certification includes indices such as air quality in offices, whether or not the company provides healthy food for its employees, whether it integrates sporting activity into its day-to-day activities and whether its offices have active work stations which allow employees to work while standing as well as while seated”, explained Patricia Fuertes.

Always looking beyond our shores, and drawing on examples from some of the most cutting-edge companies in the world, in the end obtaining WELL certification implies, as Mario Núñez has commented, “creating spaces in which people can spend more time than they spend at home”. And without forgetting a single detail when making this change. Even the smallest props can be included: “Carrying these designs through to the very end means taking care of the smallest details and creating 100% tailored projects in which everything including the coffee cups used by employees is perfectly designed”, he concluded.

“We can never forget the role of technology in modern offices. We should implement it in all areas, so that it can naturally help us in our day-to-day lives”. Mario Núñez

In general terms, this was a day in which all of the speakers involved gave excellent accounts of the benefits of designing work environments which take employees into consideration and which promote communication, collaboration and wellbeing; environments which advocate contributing to employees’ daily progress as a guarantee of commitment and reliability.

As was made clear in the different statements, furniture has a lot to say in respect to all of this, having a direct influence on people’s motivation, productivity and health, both in terms of the quality of their environment, which fosters good work, and in terms of general employee satisfaction.

This new showroom, completely equipped with the latest Actiu furnishing solutions, serves as a meeting point for trade professionals and the general public. The event was wrapped up on the rooftop of the building with an aperitif and then a firework display, with this being a typical event which is celebrated in the city of Valencia during Fallera Week.

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