A significant amount of research and discussions is taking place around future of workplaces as we transition into the post COVID-19 world. Without a doubt, wellbeing will be a primary concern across organizations globally, and workplaces will never be the same.
As our hybrid future of work comes into focus, various organizations are leveraging unprecedented flexibility and choice that will empower employees to design their own experiences. The hybrid workplace represents an entirely new model, requiring different space types, more integration of new collaborative technologies and an entirely new connection between employees and management. These changes will cause major impacts on company culture and policies that will require new partnerships and tighter synchronicity across internal organizations. Recognizing the importance of this, Mohawk Group recently achieved the WELL Health Safety Rating for all its showrooms in North America.
Human health and the built environment
Understanding human health starts with understanding wellbeing holistically and everything that has an impact on it. Wellbeing encompasses more than just physical health, and our surroundings have a profound impact on it. In addition, research conducted by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that genetics are responsible for only 10 percent of a person’s health.
Between home, commutes and work, adults spend almost 90 percent of their time indoors. This means that interior spaces can have a powerful influence over an individual’s health and lifestyle. Indeed, most of what determines human health is directly based on the physical and social environments where one lives, works and plays. Through its design and functionality, the built environment can shape daily habits and activities, drive individuals toward healthy or unhealthy choices and influence overall health through the quality of the surroundings.
WELL Health Safety Rating
The WELL Health-Safety Rating was created by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), the organization that oversees the world’s premier framework for advancing health in buildings and spaces of all kinds, the WELL Building Standard (WELL). WELL is grounded in the premise that buildings, communities and organizations play a leading role in supporting our health and well-being, as well as our collective ability to prepare for and respond to global health challenges such as COVID-19.
The genesis of the WELL Health-Safety Rating was feedback from IWBI’s Task Force on COVID-19 and Other Respiratory Infections, a group of nearly 600 public health experts, virologists, government officials, academics, business leaders, architects, designers, building scientists and real estate professionals, established in late March 2020 to support IWBI’s response to the pandemic. This group identified an important need for a third-party designation that would help to guide owners and operators towards evidence-based best practices for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and navigating this crisis and beyond.
The WELL health-safety rating for facility operations is an evidence-based, third-party verified rating for all facility types, focused on operational policies, maintenance protocols, emergency plans and stakeholder education to address a post-COVID-19 environment now and broader health and safety-related issues into the future.
Mohawk Group’s approach to WELL Health Safety Rating for all its showrooms
The WELL Health-Safety Rating includes more than 20 features across the following core areas, a minimum of 15 of which needed to be met:
Cleaning and sanitization procedures
Five strategies in this category require measures to ensure efficient cleaning and sanitization practices, especially during a pandemic. Policies and signage were implemented to support handwashing and the use of preferred cleaning products. Additionally, to reduce surface contact, a high-touch surface assessment was conducted throughout the projects and temporary or permanent strategies were implemented to reduce frequency or need of hand touch.
Emergency preparedness programs
An emergency preparedness program is critical to ensure that organizations are equipped to immediately confront a crisis and recover successfully from it. As part of the strategy, Mohawk Group developed policies for bolstering emergency preparedness, resources and emergency resilience.
Health service resources
Projects are required to provide access to essential and on-demand health services. Access to basic healthcare services is one of five key pillars that form the social determinants of health. As part of its continued commitment to employee health and wellbeing, Mohawk partnered directly with state and local government and public health officials to organize on-site vaccination events. As part of overall health benefits, employees receive various health services with an emphasis on mental wellbeing.
Air and water quality management
As part of this category, a Legionella Management Plan was developed and implemented through working closely with the facility management teams. In addition to air and water quality monitoring, operational strategies to improve the ventilation and filtration in a space were implemented to manage mold and moisture. This is critical to prevent spread of infectious diseases.
Stakeholder engagement and communication
During emergencies, stakeholder engagement and communication is critical to instilling confidence, improving coordination and supporting actions that can help protect safety. Health and Wellbeing education and awareness is shared through various communication channels at Mohawk.
Mohawk Group was awarded the WELL Health-Safety Rating at the Light Lab in Dalton, Georgia, the Mohawk Group Personal Studio in Chicago and the showrooms in Chicago, Dallas, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and Toronto following the successful completion of a third-party documentation review by GBCI to confirm it has met the feature specific intents and requirements.
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