Embracing wellbeing in the business culture

wellbeing, BCIA. Malcolm Anson
Malcolm Anson

Malcolm Anson, President of the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) is urging the industry to embrace wellbeing in our business culture to boost productivity in the workplace.

Smart commercial buildings are evolving at lightning speed. As a result, there are growing demands to be met in a number of areas – and one in particular I would like to highlight is wellbeing.

It’s a hotly-discussed topic across the UK thanks to the huge significance it plays in all walks of life. Wellbeing is a state of mind which helps boost productivity and the happiness of individuals. This can only be of benefit to the workforce and businesses to ensure a conscientious and creative environment

But we must ask ourselves, what, if anything at all, is being done about wellbeing in the workplace? It’s no secret that there is increasing concern over skill shortages across all sectors of the UK. We face a tough economic climate and anything we can do to recruit more talented people to the building controls industry is a must.

Embrace wellbeing for better building and occupant performance

Create a connection

There has been a vast amount of research conducted on wellbeing. It has been proven that “well” employees feel more loyal and connected to their workplace and are more likely to go that extra mile for their organisation. Not only that, individuals thrive in an environment which meets their needs by developing both their personal and technical skills.

While many buildings are becoming more sophisticated, there is no denying that many workplaces may have had no form of face lift in over 100 years. In 2016, sick days cost businesses in the UK a whopping £137 million.

We spend around 90% of our time indoors, but do any of us consider how healthy our working environment actually is? Heating, lighting, noise and air-quality are just a handful of factors that contribute towards the wellbeing of individuals.

The importance of wellbeing has not gone unnoticed – the WELL Building Standard is the first building standard to focus on the health and wellbeing of people in buildings.

This is now aligned with BREEAM – the global sustainability standard. The two together, provide an easier reference point, to link both sustainability and wellness in commercial buildings and achieve best practice.

Occupants of buildings often say they have little, if any, control over their environment. In the current age, we expect buildings to be intelligent. Therefore, it only seems reasonable for individuals who use and occupy buildings to have adaptable solutions which meet their personal preferences in the workplace.

A Building Management System (BMS) generates real time data on the performance of the building and the behaviour of the people inside it. From there, building managers and owners can take smart action once the data has been analysed.

Organisations can then adopt new strategies to improve the efficiency of the building, as well as improving the productivity of the occupants within. Another consequence of course, is that costs are reduced as a result of saving energy. It’s a win-win…

It is key to offer flexibility and personal user controls.

No one size fits all

From my point of view, it is key to offer flexibility and personal user controls. There are endless building controls which can enhance user-comfort, such as, demand controlled ventilation systems which help to provide natural ventilation, or user-friendly room unit/sensors which allows the optimum room conditions to be set.

Wellbeing is highly influential in attracting and retaining staff. How can we expect individuals to achieve their best work in an environment which is unsuitable for their needs? Those businesses who take steps to identify new methods to improve wellbeing will understandably be more appealing to work for.

We should also take into consideration that the workforce is aging. We need to be sensitive in regard to individuals of all ages when analysing the workplace environment.

As I see it, wellbeing needs to be embedded into the business culture. This is not just hype; commercial buildings must be future-proof. This means incorporating the needs of individuals from the get-go, not only as an afterthought.

Some organisations have fully embraced wellbeing and are already reaping the benefits. However, others have to yet to jump on board and it’s crucial we move with the times.

Being pro-active is crucial, so, my advice to you is to not get left behind. Let’s continue to deliver a sustainable and successful future for the building controls industry while developing a happy and thriving workforce.

Malcolm Anson is president of the BCIA and managing director of Clarkson Controls

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