Health and wellbeing is a central part of responsible property management. In addition to health and safety obligations, asset managers and occupiers may have health and wellbeing obligations that relate to certification schemes. Health and well-being can also contribute to employee engagement, lower absence levels and enhanced motivation.
Managing health and wellbeing involves understanding the way in which a property’s characteristics have the potential to influence the physical and emotional wellbeing of its occupiers. A range of tools are available to identify improvement opportunities, which should be reviewed regularly by the property’s stakeholders.
Property managers should consider whether the asset manager or occupiers have any health and wellbeing commitments within wider sustainability strategies that may require action.
Such commitments may be included within relevant certification schemes, such as WELL Buildings Standard, RESET, Fitwel, BREEAM In-use. Alternatively, they may be set out within a lease, particularly in relation to in-door environmental quality.
A range of monitoring equipment and activities may exist within a property which can help track health and wellbeing performance against stakeholder requirements. It is important to collate, review and identify opportunities to improve such resources.
This may involve, for example equipment to monitor indoor environmental conditions, such as carbon dioxide monitors or particulate levels connected to Buildings Management Systems. Alternatively, this may involve management processes such as occupier satisfaction surveys.
Reviewing health and wellbeing enables the understanding of health and wellbeing performance within a property and contributes to the identification of improvement opportunities.
Reviews can provide quantitative based outputs through installed monitoring devices or specialist equipment. Alternatively, they can provide qualitative outputs, through the use of occupier satisfaction or health and wellbeing surveys.
Health and wellbeing performance targets, informed by the findings from health and wellbeing benchmarking and audit activities, should be developed for the property.
Health and wellbeing performance targets should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound. They may cover quantifiable targets, such as reductions in absence levels, for example, as well as qualitative targets, such as occupier satisfaction.
A Health and Wellbeing Action Plan requires collaboration between asset managers, property managers, facilities managers and occupiers.
The plan should document health and wellbeing management arrangements, the actions that will contribute towards achieving the property’s health and wellbeing targets and the monitoring and maintenance arrangements.
The plan should be reviewed at least annually as a collective exercise by all stakeholders. Health and Wellbeing Action Plans can also be combined at the portfolio level to inform strategic improvements.
A health and wellbeing communications plan can help to engage occupiers in understanding the benefits available through proactive management of health and wellbeing, as well as the resources available for their use.
There are different methods for engaging occupiers, including both one-way information provision, such as newsletters, as well as two-way engagement, such as property sustainability forums.
A monitoring strategy should be prepared to track performance against Health and Wellbeing Action Plans and health and wellbeing performance targets. This will enable the review and continual improvement of performance, and can contribute information for stakeholders’ sustainability reporting initiatives. One way of doing this is through self-assessment schemes such as RESET.
A maintenance strategy should be prepared to identify maintenance requirements for health and wellbeing related asset, including information relating to newly installed or modified equipment.
Based on the ongoing review of the Health and Wellbeing Plan and progress towards health and wellbeing performance targets, property managers should engage the asset managers and occupiers to discuss how future health and wellbeing improvement initiatives can be funded.
These discussions may be informed by the outcomes from health and wellbeing benchmarking and audit activities, and could be guided by the high-level intent set out within the asset manager and occupiers’ corporate sustainability commitments.