There has been much talk in recent months on the importance of factoring wellbeing into office workplace design but less on how essential supporting the health and wellbeing of shoppers and workers in the retail space is. Going forward, this should be at the forefront of developer and landlord minds.

Vicky Cotton

The UK Green Building Council’s recent Wellbeing Lab retail report really pushed the boundaries of our understanding of how sustainable business practices affect corporate value drivers.

By implementing a number of relatively simple and cost-effective measures, such as installing a green roof space, refurbishing a toilet or installing better lighting in the parking area, retailers can achieve a measurable, significant, positive impact on our customers.

Workman and Ellandi have been looking at health and wellbeing for some time, with a particular interest in how it might evolve from being perceived as an office occupier luxury to an embedded piece of the asset management jigsaw, regardless of property type. It is becoming a fundamental part of the asset management model as it affects our shoppers, our centre management staff and our occupiers.

Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer is one of the lab’s participating companies

Source: Wikimedia Commons/GianniM

It’s becoming ever more apparent that the recent trend for ‘healthy’ buildings is not abating, but rather is becoming embedded as a mainstream objective. This is in large part down to mounting evidence that healthy, green buildings lead to better business outcomes and added productivity, which in turn should translate into a better bottom line.  

‘Healthy’ buildings are becoming the norm in terms of developing office space, but Retail Lab is the first time we’ve really built a case for the same sort of standards in the retail sector. We believe that making relatively minor changes to a retail environment in terms of cost and practicality will generally improve users’ perceptions of that space, and we intend to roll out more such initiatives as a result of our findings.

Our takeaway theory from this experiment is that wellbeing does not need to be expensive to benefit users – just well thought out and accessible.

Vicky Cotton, environmental director, Workman