WELL Concept #7: Mind

WELL Concept #7: Mind

Are your occupants in their comfort zone?

The last of the seven concepts in the WELL Building Standard® is WELL for Mind, which focuses on the mind-body connection—the central role mental health has on physical well-being and vice versa. WELL for Mind identifies features of the built environment and workplace policies that can be implemented to positively impact mood, sleep, stress levels and psychosocial status in order to promote and enable overall occupant health and well- being.

Preconditions for achieving WELL for Mind center around design, technology and treatment strategies in the physical environment that optimize cognitive and emotional health. The five preconditions are:

  • Health and Wellness Awareness, which requires making the WELL Building Standard Guide available to all occupants, and housing a prominently displayed and readily available digital/print library that focuses on mental and physical health.
  • Integrative Design that facilitates a collaborative process among project stakeholders—owners, architects, engineers and the facilities management team.
  • Post-occupancy Surveys to provide feedback to building owners and management. An Occupant Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) SurveyTM must be completed by 30% of occupants with the results reported to building owners, occupants and the International WELL Building Institute.
  • Beauty and Design that mindfully incorporates features intended for human delight, celebration of local culture, and the meaningful integration of public art.
  • Biophilia, incorporating nature and nature’s patterns through environmental elements, lighting and space design and opportunities for human-nature interaction.

WELL for Mind optimizations include:

  • Adaptable spaces to enable focused work, including the creation of work zones, quiet zones, collaboration zones, privacy areas, lockers or workstation cabinets, and furniture options that support short naps.
  • Building health policies that provide for adequate employer-based health insurance options and encourage ill employees to stay home or work remotely, and stress-reducing travel policies.
  • Workplace family support, including parental leave, employer-supported childcare, family leave or use of paid sick time to attend ailing family members, and nursing mother break times.
  • Beauty and Design and Biophilia enhancements relating to minimum ceiling heights, integration of artwork, and the incorporation of landscaping, indoor plants and water features.

Further optimization options are: the provision of self-monitoring sensor and wearable devices, workplace materials labeling, opportunities for community service and employer-matched donations, and organizational transparency.

If you’d like to take a deeper dive into WELL for Mind and how you can incorporate its features in your upcoming projects, please email me directly.
To view past installments in our WELL series, please view the media section of our website.
Wishing you WELL,
Bruce Lilker, PE, LEED® AP,  WELL AP

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