Health guides and reports provide endless advice on how to stay fit and healthy – be it through a varied diet, yoga, or getting plenty of exercise outdoors. Celebrities and influencers are models of the healthy lifestyle. Fitness trackers count our steps and our heart rates. If we’ve been sat down too long, they remind us to get up and move around.
Today, we have access to all sorts of information about health and staying healthy. Over time, we have become incredibly health conscious, all the while building on our knowledge of what is good for us and what isn’t. We can fairly precisely say what we want from our workplaces and homes to enable us to stay healthy and content.
At the same time, demographic change has increasingly transformed the labour market into an employees’ market – employers are facing increasingly fierce competition for the best and most talented young people and experts. So satisfying the values and demands of today’s generation of employees is becoming increasingly important – and in this context, salary is often a secondary consideration.
Beyond the work-life balance, the quality of the workplace is becoming an increasingly important factor when choosing who to work for. After all, employees spend a good 70 per cent of their weekday lives there and are expected to deliver 100 per cent every day. And in the end, that’s what employers are aiming for too. They too have long realised that they are pulling in the same direction as employees. “Today, it’s not enough for buildings to simply be functional; they have to deliver a healthy working environment, consistently”, says Hedwig Höfler, Head of Investment Management for Austria and CEE at CA Immo, summarising her experiences in recent years.
A good workplace has to increase performance and concentration, keep people physically and mentally healthy, ensure general well-being, and deliver a good work-life balance.
The WELL Standard: A Seal of Quality for Healthy Buildings
But how can we tell whether a new workplace matches up to these standards? The WELL Building Institute has dedicated itself to certifying buildings that support personal development and performance while promoting health and well-being, rather than harming them. It has created a formula for determining what makes such a building, and provides certifications in line with these criteria.
To get WELL certification, buildings pass through several rounds of assessment. Ten criteria are evaluated: Air quality, water and light, local amenities, exercise options, thermal comfort, ambient sound, quality of building materials, impact on mental health, and community potential. There is also an eleventh category in which buildings can get bonus points for particularly innovative solutions or offerings.
“WELL puts the focus on the tenant, just like we do. A building certified according to WELL criteria helps employers to come out on top in the ever-hotter War of Talents, and re-certification ensures that the building remains a suitable and attractive investment in the long term”, explains Höfler. One such building is Visionary in Prague. The class-A office building was recently acquired by CA Immo and has been awarded a Well gold certificate.
Visionary offers an unimpeded view and fresh air: the Prague sun shines through floor-to-ceiling windows into every room, and outside onto the spacious, planted terraces with their view of the botanical garden. And that’s not all. Visionary boasts a whole range of innovative, health-focused concepts. For example, tenants can do laps on the building’s rooftop running track during their lunch breaks.
Numerous offerings in and around the building make everyday life go smoother: a restaurant café is available for lunch and meetings with business associates. The building also offers car and bike sharing for all tenants, a doctor’s practice, a pharmacy, a nursery and a laundrette. All the services in and around the building can be booked via an app.
Visionary’s 22,500m² of office space is fully leased out.
Michaela Nedorostova, in charge of asset management at CA Immo Prague, has had nothing but positive feedback from tenants. “We are proud of the WELL certificate. Visionary isn’t just unique on the Czech market – it’s unique in all of Eastern Europe”. This innovative approach is obviously stimulating a lot of interest, with Nedorostova getting regular invites to lectures and conferences.
The success of buildings like Visionary is an inspiration. With Mississippi House (around 13,400m² of rental space) and Missouri Park (approx. 7,400m² of rental space), CA Immo is developing two more office buildings in Prague to WELL Building standards. They will round off CA Immo’s central development in Prague’s River City district.
For these buildings, CA Immo is even going one step further and is aiming for a WELL certificate in platinum. In the River City Prague quarter, however, CA Immo not only develops buildings that create a healthy working environment within the building, but also pursues this goal at the quarter level. Landscape architecture, with its green and outdoor spaces, is a major contributor to this, making the quarter a unique location in the Czech capital.
The large, central green space is available to all tenants of the quarter. You can relax here during your lunch break, enhance the late afternoon with an active outdoor work-out or enjoy the wonderful view of the city during a summer barbecue on the banks of the Vltava River. It is the perfect place to meet with colleagues informally or to make new contacts with other tenants.
And when it comes to sustainability, CA Immo is likewise pushing itself as far as it can go. Both buildings are being built with the expectation that they will meet the highest and most stringent LEED Green Building Standard platinum criteria. These projects are likewise in high demand on the Prague office market; with a whole year to go before planned completion, 50% of Mississippi House has already been let.