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News Release

JLL is looking WELL with extensive knowledge of human health and wellness in the built environment


​21 September, 2016 - Good news! Four of JLL’s UK employees have passed the challenging WELL AP credential exam. Alex Edds, Beth Ambrose, Claire Racine and Lora Brill join six North American JLL colleagues, who have also obtained the credential, which signifies extensive knowledge of human health and wellness in the built environment, and the WELL Building Standard™.

WELL is a building standard, aligned with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), that measures, certifies, and monitors features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. It is grounded in a body of medical research that explores the connection between the buildings where we spend more than 90% of our time, and the health and wellness impacts on us as occupants. WELL Certified™ spaces can help create a built environment that improves the physical and mental performance of its occupants.

On average, we spend around 90% our time indoors. This is also the percentage of budget, on average, that companies spend on payroll. Increasing daylight, fresh air, comfort, physical activity and the cleanliness of air and water in our 90% of indoor hours makes us feel better and be more productive, which benefits employers as well as employees. And because of the wide ranging list of benefits, there is a growing importance of developing buildings with people’s health and wellness at the center of design.

For instance, by increasing employee engagement and productivity and reducing sick leave, occupiers can save on the most important bottom line cost for most companies – payroll. According to the UK Office for National Statistics (sickness absence in the labour market, Feb 2014), a 10% decrease in back, neck and muscle pain would save c. 8 million lost work days for UK employers. Furthermore, offices ventilated by a higher than average air supply rate can experience up to 35% lower rates of short term sick leave according to the World Green Building Council, Health, Wellbeing & Productivity in Offices, 2014 report. Indeed, the cost of sickness to the employer is estimated at an average £595/employee/year in the UK; so just a 10% decrease could result in annual savings of £120,000 for a company with 2,000 employees.

But what does all of this mean for landlords? It gives landlords another way to achieve rent premiums and decrease letting voids. For example, 35% of London property professionals surveyed in a 2011 Gensler and ULI report were prepared to pay 10-15% more to be close to urban open space while 93% were willing to pay at least 3% more. JLL Central London agents report anecdotally that clients large and small are currently willing to pay a rent premiums for roof terraces, while natural lighting can command a premium of up to 25% per sq ft. Letting voids can also be diminished, as floorplates with excellent daylight access are highly desirable - in the case of one international consultancy currently seeking 100,000 square feet, buildings that don’t meet its ample natural lighting requirements will not be considered. Meanwhile, occupants are increasingly considering wellbeing amenities – cycle facilities are a must and smart landlords are increasing provision from the industry standard of 1 space per 750/1,000 sq ft to 1 space per 500 sq ft. Shower facilities tend to be under-provisioned in the marketplace.

Savvy occupiers will be looking for base building specifications such as natural lighting, excellent ventilation, outdoor space, and good water quality that enable the organisation to complete a “healthy” CAT-B fit out, with living plants, prominent and pleasant stairwells, sound masking, sit-stand furniture and activity based workplaces incorporating a variety of spaces such as personal work booths and activity-based work areas, different-size meeting rooms, informal 'collaboration zones,' and purely social areas like cafés.

JLL itself has introduced a number of health & wellbeing initiatives over the past two years. And over the next 12 months the company is going to be implementing a formalised internal health and wellbeing campaign, and undertaking a WELL gap assessment of one of our UK offices. In the US, JLL is certifying its 6,131 sq ft New York City office to WELL. JLL has also supported Cadillac Fairview, and in turn TD Bank, in achieving WELL Certification at the Gold level in Canada. This certification represents the world’s first WELL Certification under the WELL Building Standard™ v1. The achievement is a testament to the various project measures successfully executed, from ensuring superior air quality, to creating calming reprieves for the mind, to providing nutritious food options.

Our built environment has a profound impact on our health, well-being, happiness and productivity. JLL is adding value. How are you?