CBRE’s Vancouver office achieves WELL Certification at Gold level

CBRE's Vancouver office. Photo courtesy of CBRE
CBRE’s Vancouver office. Photo courtesy of CBRE

CBRE’s Vancouver office has achieved WELL Certification at the Gold level for New and Existing Interiors by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).

The office space, designed by the Vancouver office of Perkins+Will and interior design lead Sarah Stanford, is the first to receive the distinction in Vancouver, awarded based on IWBI’s WELL Building Standard (WELL), the premier building standard to focus on enhancing employees’ health and wellness through the built environment.

Dubbed ‘the next frontier in workplace design’, CBRE is helping to pioneer the adoption of the WELL Building Standard in Canada. The company is responsible for four out of the first 10 projects in Canada to register for WELL Certification, making it the first Canadian firm to embrace the new standard across multiple locations.

CBRE's Vancouver office. Photo courtesy of CBRE
CBRE’s Vancouver office. Photo courtesy of CBRE

In order to receive WELL Certification, CBRE’s Vancouver office was assessed, monitored and tested across seven wellness categories: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. The office space was designed to incorporate over 100 wellness features including:

  • Internal air quality which is within the top 1 per cent of offices globally, and better than most homes. As a result, over 90 per cent of CBRE Vancouver employees have reported a noticeable improvement in air quality.
  • Universal access to natural light, with no employee sitting more than 25 feet from windows with views. A Northwestern University study has shown that offices workers with access to natural light sleep better and for longer, and report markedly better results in quality-of-life assessments.
  • All employees have ergonomic sit-stand desks to reduce sedentary behaviour and alleviate lower back pain. Surveyed after the move, nine out of 10 CBRE Vancouver employees reported feeling more energetic as a result of using sit-stand desks.
  • To increase physical activity, an internal stairway connects all four floors, meaning employees must use the stairs to travel across different floors and collaborate with colleagues.
  • To create acoustic comfort, white noise diodes are installed throughout the office to dampen background noise, a key cause of stress and distraction for office workers.
  • Carbon-filtered water is provided within 30 metres of workstations to encourage better hydration.
  • A central lunchroom, the RISE Café, encourages staff to take a break from their desks to eat together. Studies show that adding a social aspect to eating inspires healthier food choices, and reduced-sized plates are provided in the Café to assist with portion control.
CBRE's Vancouver office. Photo courtesy of CBRE
CBRE’s Vancouver office. Photo courtesy of CBRE

“Given that most Canadians spend over half of their waking hours in an office, employers can have a sizeable impact on their employee’s health by focusing on wellness in the workplace,” said Loren Bergmann Managing Director of Workplace Strategy, Western Canada, at CBRE Canada. “There is a sound business case for investing in a workplace that embraces a human-centric approach to office design. The office continues to evolve from simply being a place where your staff congregates to complete their tasks into a powerful tool for attracting and retaining the best talent.”

“Furthermore, when you design an office space with employee wellness in mind, you’re impacting 100 per cent of the people that work in that space. The ability to positively impact all of your employees far surpasses other corporate wellness programs, such as subsidized gym memberships, which only typically has a 15 per cent participation rate.”