Is the region ready to build WELL?

While the basic principles of doing business may remain the same, changes in employee demographics, and their attitudes towards work – which are swayed by technological advancements – are significantly affecting the way designers approach office interior design.

With regional experts weighing-in on current office design trends, in our latest special report Commercial Interior Design explores a number of issues that are affecting workplaces both globally and in the region.

As outlined by Xworks, CID’s Knowledge Partner for this report, the most significant change in workplace design over the last decade has been the fact that offices are no longer defined by row upon row of desks. The key to success today is choice – providing staff with a number of diverse settings.

Xworks also points out that when designing a workplace, it is crucial to understand exactly how staff will interact with the space, and that one-size doesn’t fit all. This is the cornerstone of what the firm refers to as “insight-based” design.

READ MORE: X Works’ Dubai office to become first to achieve Gold WELL accreditation

Often regarded as the next generation of sustainable design, the WELL Building Standard is another focus of this report. Companies like Xworks and Haworth are advocating the concept, which strives to drive human and environmental sustainability, in the region.

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The seven elements of the WELL Building Standard are Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort, and Mind. As well as being concerned with air and water quality standards, the certification covers everything from “mindful eating” to strategic dining design within the Nourishment category. Under Light, the standards address issues such as access to natural light and low-glare workstation design. Fitness covers things such as the availability of physical activity to spaces, and activity incentives for staff. Comfort, meanwhile, includes everything from accessibility to sound reduction; and Mind is concerned with factors surrounding employee wellbeing.

As Randy Fiser, CEO of the American Society of Interior Designers, explains: “WELL fosters a holistic formula for better health and wellness outcomes, leading to improvements in things like employee productivity, engagement, and retention.”

With such a strategy rapidly gaining prominence in the region, the business of design looks set to become truly human-centric and sustainability-driven. I, for one, will be pleased to see our industry embrace such a change.

 

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