People are the foundation for the success of any project. Spaces must provide them with the tools and conditions required for them to develop their talent, their ingenuity and their work.
These sustainable and healthy spaces can take advantage of the opportunities provided by new technologies, whilst having the same mission: the well-being of the people using the space.
The first day of the CDICV Academy (Association of Interior Designers of the Valencian Community) focused specifically on the characteristics and new features of "Healthy Offices" in a talk that brought together experts in fields such as furniture, interior design, air filtration systems and the latest technology in toilets. Actiu's brand reputation director and advisor, Soledat Berbegal, Isabel Chover from Canyamás Estudio, the sales director at Airzone in the Valencia Region, Pedro Morales, Xavier Lledó from Xavier Lledó Arquitectura e Interiorismo and Carlos Bañuls, technical architect from Ideal Standard.
"Salaries are in most cases the most important cost item of the company. Employees are the face of the company and perform the duties that enable the organisation to be competitive and achieve its goals. Therefore, it is key to invest in the people of an organisation, in their health and well-being, in technological tools and processes that allow them to work better, and in spaces that facilitate all of this", she stated.
In her opinion, "space can be a lever for change and transformation of the company, but it must also be sustainable for the planet and healthy for people. Because sustainability and well-being are two sides of the same coin. They cannot be separated and the result of their implementation must be profitable and sustained over time.”
A healthy space should provide serenity and comfort and be inclusive, i.e. welcoming people who are diverse in terms of gender, age, culture and ability. Inclusion is also mental health for those who feel included, integrated and represented. What's more, the friendliness of these spaces is closely connected with nature, in other words, with biophilic design, which takes into account issues such as light, materials, volumes, colour, acoustic and thermal comfort, amongst others. A space whose experience is positive and motivating is an environment that benefits companies and, therefore, the organisation.
“Workers must go home as healthy or healthier than before entering the office. If companies want to capture and retain talent, they must take care of their team and take care of the resources they make available to them. Offices must respond to all these factors. Before, if there was a sofa, it was in the manager's office and now they have been taken out to the common areas so that everybody can make use of them", said Isabel Chover.
The resting and dining areas in companies are also becoming more important, according to Xavier Lledó, who has tackled several projects of this nature, using natural fabrics, solutions created from recycled PET and lamps that self-regulate their light level depending on the natural ambient light.
“We have just completed the top floor of the Vodafone offices in Valencia, which includes a canteen, where a cook prepares the staff's meals every day, in turn, fostering a healthier diet," he highlighted.
Food in the work environment is essential when it comes to taking care of health, as is the lighting, air quality, sound and temperature. These are some of the factors monitored by Gaia by Actiu®, a smart platform that provides information to improve workspaces.
“In urban areas, it is estimated that we spend 90% of our time indoors. Indoors, this air can contain 2 to 5 times more polluting particles than outdoors," said Morales, who explained the advantages of the ionisation system for air purification. It diffuses negatively charged ions that adhere to the positively charged particles which, as they increase in mass, fall to the ground and avoid being inhaled.
Technology and especially contactless solutions also support hygiene and well-being in the toilets. "According to some studies, three quarters of employees consider that the quality of the toilets has a direct effect on their well-being at work", explained Carlos Bañuls.
New solutions that avoid contact with surfaces and can be programmed to make the work of facility managers easier are now available. This is how technology meets sustainability to take care of people's health and well-being.
ACTIU Berbegal y Formas S.A. (hereafter ACTIU) is an Spanish public limited company who has the domain name of "www.actiu.com" and "www.actiu.es" registered in the Companies House of Alicante::
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