EDGE is excited to be a partner of the Wellbeing Experience to help champion examples of best practice for wellness in the workplace.
We specialise in creating environments that offer world-class wellness solutions and naturally put people’s needs in the DNA of every space we create. Our creative intuition brings together three disciplines; architecture, interiors and brand. Using our connected expertise, we focus on delivering 100% effective design with meaning, relevance and beautiful execution to all projects and spaces. It’s what we are good at. It’s what we are proud of.
We create spaces which enhance wellbeing
As wellness experts and workplace designers, we have informed and created the space of the Wellbeing Experience. With our partners, we have organised the exhibition around eight pillars that affect the human body in the built environment. These components interconnect to improve the physical, emotional and social wellbeing of the occupants in an indoor workspace. This exhibition demonstrates the benefits of a healthy environment in the workplace and provides examples of innovation that are improving the wellbeing of people at work. The aim is to educate and inspire so that designers, manufacturers and users can look at how to further improve people’s working lives.
What is workplace wellness?
Workplace wellbeing is the way that our physical and mental health are affected by the work environment. It encompasses the quality of the physical work environment, how we feel at work and how we think about our work. Our surroundings affect our moods, our ability to focus and our levels of energy. A well-designed workplace is an essential part of maintaining a heathy and happy workforce.
Wellness in the workplace is not a new concept, but increasingly companies are making it a higher priority to invest in programmes that support the physical, emotional, social and financial wellbeing of their employees. Wellness has become a choice factor in attracting, keeping and nurturing the best talent. Specifically, businesses are looking at how the physical workspace contributes to staff happiness and engagement. Numerous studies have shown a direct link between the general health and wellbeing of employees and productivity and how even small changes to the conditions in the building can make a measurable difference to absenteeism and a business’s bottom line.
Considerations about how to improve physical and mental comfort are transforming office design. For instance, countering noise disturbance, which is often identified as one of the most significant causes of discomfort in offices, has become an important issue. Improving acoustics with good space design and clever furniture choices will provide remarkable Wellbeing and productivity gains. Similarly, incorporating features to keep the temperature and lighting at optimal levels is important for design. Encouraging employees to vary their movements and to avoid sitting for too long has also become a priority for businesses. Active design and ergonomic furniture have become the new standard. In addition, there is growing recognition of the positive mental benefits to be gained from bringing nature into the workplace – either real, as with planting, or as a visual feature with graphics and photography.
Wellness principles at the heart of the design
Edge has always seen wellness as an investment, not a cost and we embed wellness principles into briefs and strategies. We ask our clients if the company really knows how its space is affecting the people who use it and if the workspace is as well as it could be. There is no magical, one-fits-all formula. What’s critical is finding the wellness solution that’s right for each organisation, each brand.
At the start of every project we determine how wellness is defined and then work in line with industry measures applying one or more of the following:
International WELL Building Institute Standards
British Council for Offices (BCO) - Guidelines
British Council for Offices (BCO) - Wellness Matters
(SKA & BREEAM - Sustainability assessments) along with the client’s own KPIs.
No longer is it enough to win a pretty design award - Clients want their workplaces to prove that the money and time invested will pay them back. It's now about accreditations and metrics - having credible industry measures to prove to your workforce that the brand you work for is the best:
- for employees - how will it make me happier, want to stay with the business for longer, work more productively and achieve more?
- and for the planet - how sustainable is the business's new workspace? where did they source the furniture/materials?
Achieving the first Platinum WELL Certification in Europe
Edge’s client, The Crown Estate, has been awarded WELL Certification at the Platinum Level for its head office at No 1 St James’s Market, by the International WELL Building Institute™. There are only ten projects globally to achieve Platinum certification and this is the first in Europe to receive this accreditation.
WELL is the global building standard designed to enhance people’s health and wellness through the built environment. Created through seven years of research and development working with leading physicians, scientists, and industry professionals, the WELL Building Standard™ marries best practices in design and construction with evidence-based scientific research. Edge worked closely with The Crown Estate to deliver its ambition of delivering an environment for today and tomorrow by designing around and empowering their three principles of progression & professional standing, maximization of collaboration and agility and by placing people at the heart of the business.
Racheal Cadey, Founder and Principal, says “Edge was commissioned to deliver the client’s vision and objectives and enable their headquarters to become a strategic tool that could help transform and futureproof the business. Achieving the highest certifications for health, wellbeing and sustainability were important ambitions in the brief and these required absolute focus, new learnings, rigorous specifications and an innovative use of materials from the whole project team.” This demonstrates Edge’s philosophy and approach – that placing wellbeing at the heart makes a fundamental contribution to a client’s overall success.
The Crown Estate earned the distinction based on seven categories of building performance—air, water, light, nourishment, fitness, comfort and mind across two floors of No 1 St James’s Market. These link into a design strategy of ‘Active landscapes’ which encourages mobility and wellbeing over both floors. The work spaces have been tailored to employee needs and tasks: some social and collaborative, others quiet and private, all flexible and connected to technology.
With a central philosophy of ‘no offices’ the office layout maximises access to natural daylight for everyone and for primary desk spaces to support circadian rhythms, and ergonomic choices to sit or stand. Biophilia is also part of the core design strategy and is visible wherever you sit with key innovative features such as acoustically performing moss creating visually stunning backdrops.