Why should there be a gym next to every healthy office? How does a staircase’s width affect how willing people are to walk up it? How many people are obese in the Czech Republic? You’ll be receiving answers to all of these questions from Arnold, a project manager at a company that’s headquartered at a building with WELL certification, which assesses buildings’ influence on people’s health.
Under WELL certification, fitness is one of the main pillars of a healthy office. But don’t imagine that all of Arnold’s semi-annual bonuses are based on the size of his biceps or that he has to report detailed jogging statistics to his boss alongside his financial results for the quarter.
All the same, sitting around in an office isn’t really what homo sapiens sapiens evolved to do—as you can probably feel in your own life. That’s why we’ve decided to join Arnold in showing you how a pro-active work environment ought to look.
Now, nobody’s asking you to add “Run a marathon in under 2 hours” to your personal goals. Often all you need is a small change—for example taking the stairs up instead of the elevator...
And because getting active is very much about numbers (how many kg you can bench press, what your BMI is, what your average pulse is, etc.), here is some basic data on how a fitness-friendly office should look according to WELL:
That’s the minimum staircase width required by WELL to keep you from feeling claustrophobic as you’re going up and down. A building’s stairwell should be welcoming, with for example windows out onto the landscape, or music to set you on your way.
Naturally WELL gives bonus points to companies where employees are encouraged to work both sitting down and standing up. These are granted when at least 3% of employees have access to special desks with a built-in exercise bike or treadmill. Many Google and Microsoft employees are already using these.
That’s the farthest you should need to walk from your work in order to reach at least one of the following: a park with a playground, a swimming pool, a gym, a bike trail, a fitness zone, or a relaxation spot.
That’s the minimum amount of exercise space that a company should have per 10 employees. For each added employee, WELL certification recommends adding 0.1 m2, up to a maximum area of 370 m2 (that’s about 1.5 tennis courts).
1× a month
At least once a month, a fitness trainer or other exercise leader should visit your company. For this benefit, your employer will gain bonus points in WELL certification... but also your brownie points with your team, especially if the trainer is Arnold Schwarzenegger.
At least every 20th employee should have access to a room for parking their bike after cycling to work. At the same time, employers should also offer basic tools for bicycle upkeep and repair. (For example, Skanska company offers them - see photo below). Sadly no mention is made in WELL certification of a refreshment wagon to accompany you on your ride all the way home.
According to the Czech State Health Institute, over 50% of the nation’s middle-aged persons are overweight. Obesity, meanwhile, affects about 25% of its women, and 22% of its men.
WELL certification covers eight areas that are decisive for a healthy office. We showed you four of these pillars in recent weeks; you’ll find them behind the links below. We’ll be presenting more areas and their ambassadors again in a week.