HOK’s Andrew McMullan Discusses Designing Healthy Workplaces
London-based Senior Project Designer Andrew McMullan shares strategies for designing the workplace to promote the health and well-being of employees.
Excerpted from MIPIM’s Innovation Insider special report:
A study commissioned by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment and the British Council for Offices found that employees who are proud of their work environment tend to value their company more, have a stronger belief in its brand and put more energy into their daily activities. Another study by Exeter University’s School of Psychology found that employees working in spaces enriched with plants and artwork were 17 percent more productive than those working in spaces without.
The latest building certifications reflect this shift. UK REIT British Land’s latest project at 100 Liverpool Street in London, for example, is set to be one of the UK capital’s first shell and core WELL-certified buildings. The International WELL Building Institute focuses on innovations to promote health and well-being through the quality of the physical environment and by facilitating healthy lifestyles.
This relatively new certification is changing the ways that offices are measured around the world. But property owners should still look beyond the numbers, advises Andrew McMullan, senior project designer and a vice president of HOK’s London office. “Certifications like LEED and WELL are not enough,” he adds. “We must be deliberate in making astute observations about the workplace and how to best build a healthy, people-centric office. With studies that prove the psychological and physical benefits of exposure to nature, finding ways to connect to the outdoors will be key. Workplaces will also integrate more into their local communities, providing public spaces and creating infrastructure that raises the quality of life for everyone, not just their staff.”
Despite this, McMullan predicts a long and healthy life for the modern workplace: “For years, many have predicted the death of the office. Mobile technology allows us to work anywhere, so why do we need an office at all? Yet, as the world becomes increasingly more complex, the places we work have never been more relevant. Work is a social activity and people still need places to come together to unlock the creativity and innovation needed to solve tough problems. Ultimately, I think ‘workplace’ will become ‘meeting place.’”