WELL® is a performance-based system for measuring and certifying features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. It marries best practices in design and construction with evidence-based medical and scientific research – harnessing the built environment as a vehicle to support human health and well-being.
Office Furniture plays a key role in the well-being of employees within the workplace.
The materials used in the construction of the office furniture, how it is designed to support the needed tasks, how the furniture is placed within the floor plan, and the comfort level of the person using it, are all things to consider when designing an office space. There are 7 performance categories the WELL Building Standard® uses to certify the level of wellness; Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort, and Mind. Office furniture affects 6 out of the 7 categories within this program.
Whether goal is to achieve WELL® certification, or just to improve the well-being of your office environment, the list of guidelines listed below are some key points that should be considered when purchasing office furniture.
Those listed as PRECONDITIONS are considered a priority and a requirement for all levels of certification within each WELL® category. OPTIMIZATIONS are additional features to help enhance the well-being of the building or interior space, and increase the level of certification or compliance.
Office Furniture considerations to support WELL® Certification
VOC Reduction (Precondition)
High concentration of certain chemical compounds known as VOCs, have been associated with many health related problems. Indoor air quality can be degraded significantly by VOCs that off-gas from paints, finishes and other coatings on materials brought in to the office environment, including office furniture.
Flame Retardant Limitation (Optimization)
Added to upholstered furniture and furnishings, textiles, and fabrics, as a fire prevention method, have been tested and shown to cause neurobehavioral, carcinogenic and immune effects.
Enhanced Material Safety (Optimization)
This feature promotes the use of products that have been independently verified to be free of many suspected hazards.
Mindful Eating (Optimization)
Unhealthy eating habits are often created because of demanding work schedules and a lack of communal eating spaces . People will eat in isolation during meal breaks; often grabbing a quick bite to eat while sitting at their workstation, or running to another meeting. This WELL feature says building occupants should have dedicated spaces for eating and socializing with others.
Exposure to light not only facilitates image-formation and colour perception, but can also trigger a series of non-visual effects involving the regulation of the circadian cycle.
Working and Learning Area Surface Reflectivity & Location (Optimization)
This feature sets parameters for the reflective quality of surfaces to control the overall light intensity within a space. Choosing surfaces with higher LRV values thus represents a good strategy for ensuring that a sufficient amount of light reaches the eye without increasing energy consumption or glare.
This feature requires the implementation of active furnishings to reduce prolonged sitting, including active workstations (such as treadmill desks) or standing desks.
Having a place to store personal belongings so occupants have a place for a change of clothes for activities, this feature recommends the following are provided onsite or within 200 m [650 ft] of the building’s main entrance
An Accessible Workplace (Precondition)
Ensuring that individuals with physical disabilities have access and mobility, this feature requires compliance with current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) design regulations. When applicable, learn more about the Ontario Disability Accessibility Act information. [Canada]
Visual and Physical Ergonomics (Precondition)
This feature ensures that occupants are free to adopt a variety of comfortable sitting and standing positions.
Too much noise and overhearing private conversations a common note of dissatisfaction in open offices. This feature aims to mitigate uncomfortable acoustic disruptions and increase speech privacy, such as wall panels, ceiling baffles and surface enhancements to soften the noise and improve acoustic comfort.
Health literacy, defined by the Institute of Medicine as “the degree to which individuals can obtain, process, and understand the basic health information and services they need to make appropriate health decisions” is essential for optimal health and well-being. Make sure to have all information available to your design team before purchasing office furniture. Our team at Envirotech is available to review your requirements needed for WELL certification.
This feature promotes the availability of health and wellness literature, including detailed descriptions of WELL features and their benefits; WELL Building Standard Guide + Health and Wellness Library must be available.
Integrative Design (Precondition)
This feature requires all stakeholders to meet at various points throughout the project development—pre-design planning, design development, construction and post-construction—to determine and ensure adherence to the collective wellness goals.
Adaptable Spaces (Optimization)
Research demonstrates that the presence of a variety of workspaces that enable individuals to adjust their environments and choose the degrees of engagement is associated with job satisfaction and group cohesiveness. This feature creates a productive work environment that is free of distracting stimuli and includes spaces that are designed for focused work and that encourage short naps.
> Download Guidelines – PDF
For more information on WELL Building Standard® : Office Furniture Guidelines
Andy Delisi | Envirotech Office Systems Architecture and Design Rep
1.905.806.3917 | [email protected]
- The WELL Building Standard®: v1_ February 2016 – PDF Download on www.wellcertified.com