A New Standard Helps Create Confidence That It’s Safe to Return

September 18, 2020

A New Standard Helps Create Confidence That It’s Safe to Return

by Sara Fernandez Cendon| September 18, 2020

Read original piece published in Metropolis

On March 11, 2020, the WHO designated COVID-19 a pandemic. Cities, states, and nations around the world responded by restricting everyday activities, helping to limit the disease’s spread and create a sense of security, however tenuous. Now, months later, with businesses and organizations considering restoring operations, questions loom. If home and distance represent safety, what do we make of the public spaces we’ve suddenly abandoned? How will we know when it’s safe to return?

By way of an answer, the International WELL Building Institute, known as IWBI, has launched the WELL Health-Safety Rating, a new evidence-based rating system that provides third-party verification of health and safety features for all new and existing building and facility types.

IWBI is best known for its WELL Building Standard, a rating system designed to enhance health and wellness. The new rating, whose features are a subset of those under the WELL Building Standard, is designed to help organizations operate, maintain, and design facilities specifically in a post-COVID 19 environment. In practice, this means this is a rating system that rewards providing sick leave and health benefits, promoting flu vaccines, supporting frequent handwashing, and implementing effective cleaning protocols, among other features.

To develop this rating, in late March IWBI formed a COVID-19 Task Force, a group of nearly 600 experts representing fields including public health, virology, government, academia, business, architecture, design, building sciences, and real estate. Despina Katsikakis, head of occupier business performance at Cushman Wakefield, a global commercial real estate services firm based in Chicago, was among those experts.

On March 11, 2020, the WHO designated COVID-19 a pandemic. Cities, states, and nations around the world responded by restricting everyday activities, helping to limit the disease’s spread and create a sense of security, however tenuous. Now, months later, with businesses and organizations considering restoring operations, questions loom. If home and distance represent safety, what do we make of the public spaces we’ve suddenly abandoned? How will we know when it’s safe to return?

By way of an answer, the International WELL Building Institute, known as IWBI, has launched the WELL Health-Safety Rating, a new evidence-based rating system that provides third-party verification of health and safety features for all new and existing building and facility types.

IWBI is best known for its WELL Building Standard, a rating system designed to enhance health and wellness. The new rating, whose features are a subset of those under the WELL Building Standard, is designed to help organizations operate, maintain, and design facilities specifically in a post-COVID 19 environment. In practice, this means this is a rating system that rewards providing sick leave and health benefits, promoting flu vaccines, supporting frequent handwashing, and implementing effective cleaning protocols, among other features.

To develop this rating, in late March IWBI formed a COVID-19 Task Force, a group of nearly 600 experts representing fields including public health, virology, government, academia, business, architecture, design, building sciences, and real estate. Despina Katsikakis, head of occupier business performance at Cushman Wakefield, a global commercial real estate services firm based in Chicago, was among those experts.

On March 11, 2020, the WHO designated COVID-19 a pandemic. Cities, states, and nations around the world responded by restricting everyday activities, helping to limit the disease’s spread and create a sense of security, however tenuous. Now, months later, with businesses and organizations considering restoring operations, questions loom. If home and distance represent safety, what do we make of the public spaces we’ve suddenly abandoned? How will we know when it’s safe to return?

By way of an answer, the International WELL Building Institute, known as IWBI, has launched the WELL Health-Safety Rating, a new evidence-based rating system that provides third-party verification of health and safety features for all new and existing building and facility types.

IWBI is best known for its WELL Building Standard, a rating system designed to enhance health and wellness. The new rating, whose features are a subset of those under the WELL Building Standard, is designed to help organizations operate, maintain, and design facilities specifically in a post-COVID 19 environment. In practice, this means this is a rating system that rewards providing sick leave and health benefits, promoting flu vaccines, supporting frequent handwashing, and implementing effective cleaning protocols, among other features.

To develop this rating, in late March IWBI formed a COVID-19 Task Force, a group of nearly 600 experts representing fields including public health, virology, government, academia, business, architecture, design, building sciences, and real estate. Despina Katsikakis, head of occupier business performance at Cushman Wakefield, a global commercial real estate services firm based in Chicago, was among those experts.