A Comparison Between WELL and Non-WELL Certified Environments
Although there is abundance of research on Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) in offices, aspects beyond IEQ that can affect occupants’ satisfaction and performance are not well understood. Additionally, rapid adaptation of certification schemes and scarcity of evidence in evaluating if the workplaces with these schemes outperform other workplaces necessitate research in this area. In this study, a total of 1403 Post-Occupancy Evaluation surveys from 14 open-plan offices (10 WELL-certified and 4 uncertified) in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong were analysed. Key drivers of productivity, creativity, and health were investigated. Satisfaction with visual privacy and access to the outdoor environment emerged as key predictors for productivity, and layout and interior design was the main predictor for creativity. Organizational aspects were the key drivers for mental health; privacy and IEQ for physical health; and privacy and connection to the outdoor environment for overall health. The five offices that achieved the highest satisfaction in layout and interior design, IEQ, privacy and connection to the outdoor environment, and organizational aspects were all WELL certified, so a comparison was conducted between WELL and non-WELL offices. Satisfaction with the physical configuration of the space and organizational aspects were generally higher in WELL-certified offices. There were no significant differences in health between WELL and non-WELL offices, however fewer Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) complaints and musculoskeletal discomfort were less reported in WELL offices. More than 20% of respondents were dissatisfied with the physical environment regardless of being WELL or non-WELL certified.