The pandemic has changed the Romanians’ perception about their office, with health now at the forefront. Thus, 43% of Romanian employees believe that the main feature of their offices should be a healthy space, based on technologies and procedures designed to protect people’s health, shows a Genesis Property survey among 1,208 employees across the country.
At the same time, 26% believe that their office should also be “green”, giving increased importance to sustainability, both through resource efficiency and the use of renewable energy (23%), as well as selective waste collection and recycling.
In recent years the sustainability of office buildings has become an important part of life for more and more Romanian employees, but, in the last year and a half, the health, both personal and of the workspace, has become an essential integral part of sustainability initiatives.
Thus, almost 71% consider a building to be sustainable when it is very resource efficient and protects the environment, but 48% point out that a sustainable building is especially one that protects the health of its occupants.
“Sustainability is no longer just a concept, but has become a necessity today, and the effects of pandemics and environmental trends have emphasised the importance of healthy and sustainable behaviours, both in business and in everyday life. In addition, sustainability initiatives today aren’t focused only on protecting the environment, but also on people’s health. A building can no longer be considered truly robust and sustainable without ensuring healthy conditions for employees and measures that actually mitigate environmental impact”, says Roxana Albu, general manager of the facility management division at Genesis Property.
Nearly half of employees believe that change must start with people, by taking care of their health and of the environment and adopting sustainable behaviours both in the office and at home. Thus, 86% turn off lights if natural lighting is sufficient or when a space is not in use, 65% turn off power supply to equipments if they aren’t using them and just as many make sure the windows are closed if the HVAC (air conditioning/cooling/heating) system is running, in order to make resource consumption more efficient. In addition, 57% say they would like to take part in environmental volunteering initiatives and almost 48% in actions aimed at protecting health.
In terms of increasing the sustainability of the office building where they work, 36% of employees believe that automation and control technologies are needed for maximum energy efficiency, 25% support the development of the circular economy, which is based on recycling and reuse, and 19% want solutions that bring nature indoors, such as green corners and as much natural light as possible. At the same time, more than 55% want technologies that allow them to set the temperature and light levels in their own office space, and more than 45% think it is important to have permanent access to health protection equipment.
IMMUNE standard measures are essential for building health
“The study shows us how important it is for most employees to work in a healthy building, and this result puts pressure on owners and employers to work together to implement measures to ensure this,” says Ștefan Tudos, Vice President of Genesis Property, responsible for managing the client portfolio.
IMMUNE Building Standard was designed and developed at the beginning of the pandemic to assess and certify the health of physical space in the built environment, where people spend over 90% of their time. The standard proposes 135 coherent measures that, once implemented – either in part or in full – give building owners or employers working in that space the tools to monitor and adjust the health indicators.
There are currently several office and industrial buildings in the world that have implemented the standard measures and obtained certification for “healthy buildings”. The H3 building in West Gate Business District is the world’s first building to achieve the highest IMMUNE™ label, giving occupants a healthy experience when working in the office.
The Genesis Property survey on employees’ perceptions of the health of offices was conducted in June 2021 through the iVox platform, on a total sample of 1,208 internet users from all over the country. Almost 50% of the participants are women, about 70% are over 35 years old, and 43% have a net income higher than 3000 lei.