Why Top Workplaces Are Making Wellness a #1 Priority

October 22, 2019 4 Minute Read

Why High-Performing Workplaces Are Making Wellness a Top Priority

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If you’ve worked in an office recently, you’ve probably received your fair share of emails about “wellness” in the workplace. Wellness is a term we hear a lot these days. But what does it actually mean?

The answer depends on who you work for. All too often wellness is invoked to describe the occasional company-sponsored after-work social outing, or as a reminder that you need to do more stretching at your desk. But in today’s non-stop work culture, with people logging longer hours at their desks and chowing down on takeout meals in front of their screens, it’s never been more important for employers to get serious about building a workplace that prioritizes employee wellbeing.

An effective workplace wellness strategy can lead to higher productivity, greater talent retention and overall company success. Here’s what you need to know about doing workplace wellness right.

Why High-Performing Workplaces Are Making Wellness a Top Priority

Where to begin with wellness

So you’ve decided you want to create a comprehensive wellness standard for your office. Great! Where do you start? For our part, CBRE has helped to pioneer the adoption of the WELL standard throughout Canada. Considered the next frontier in workplace design, the WELL standard – administered by the International WELL Building Institute – comprises a broad range of wellness strategies across seven categories: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. Let’s take a closer look at each.


Having clean, breathable air is among the most important elements of a healthy work environment. Pollution indicators can be between two to five times higher indoors. Having so many people working together in close quarters creates higher levels of CO2 and lowers employee productivity. A third-party assessment of your office’s air quality can help you determine which air contaminant removal and prevention process would work best.


Did you know that being dehydrated by just 2% can impair cognitive performance? You’ve probably felt it on days when you had one too many meetings and haven’t had time to refill your water bottle. That’s why ensuring access to clean water must be an integral part of any wellness strategy. CBRE’s offices have filtered-water stations placed throughout the workspace to ensure hydrated, happy employees.

Why High-Performing Workplaces Are Making Wellness a Top Priority


Who knew that getting a good sleep started at work? Research has shown that proximity to natural light boosts productivity. It also means that you’ll sleep better as the body’s circadian rhythms are less likely to be disrupted throughout the day. Light also guards against a heightened risk of obesity and depression. Strategically designed floorplans can ensure universal access to natural light for employees, and lighting controls can help to boost interior lighting levels when natural light is in shorter supply, like during winter.


Eating meals that are high in fruit and vegetable content can help to boost job performance. An effective workplace wellness strategy should include providing employees with fresh and wholesome food, whether it’s in the form of catered lunches, nutritious snacks, or proximity to vendors of healthier foods. Sharing and promoting nutritional research is also a great way to make certain everyone stays informed about best practices.



Lack of physical activity has been linked to a wide range of health problems, yet most modern offices have their employees sit at a desk for hours on end. Integrating physical activity into your employees’ day-to-day routines, by providing as many opportunities for movement as possible, is essential. This could come in the form of subsidized gym memberships, walking meetings or planned strolls. Regardless, fitness must be a cornerstone of any workplace-wellness strategy. Floorplans can also be arranged that encourage movement, collaboration and climbing stairs.

Why High-Performing Workplaces Are Making Wellness a Top Priority


An office that doesn’t prioritize ergonomics will quickly become a workplace full of sore, unhappy employees. Creating a space where workers feel comfortable, relaxed, and free of distracting noises and smells is key to their wellbeing. Ergonomically designed workstations and standing desks can go a long way toward supporting employee health. Noise-reduction technology, part of the CBRE wellness strategy, is a simple way to limit distractions and boost productivity.



Emotional health is the most important factor to consider when designing a workplace strategy that supports wellness. Often overlooked in favour of physical health, the mental health of employees can have a major impact on their day-to-day interactions and prospects for longer-term success. Solutions like quiet rooms, on-site childcare and a no-eating-at-your desk policy (another part of the CBRE wellness strategy) encourage relaxation and calm and demonstrate to employees that their employer is actively invested in all aspects of their health and wellbeing.  

CBRE Leads the Way

CBRE is walking the walk when it comes to workplace wellness. Five of our offices across Canada have achieved the WELL certification, most recently our new Edmonton office, which incorporates over 100 wellness strategies. It’s all part of our goal to create world-class spaces for our people and clients. Learn more about the WELL standards and CBRE’s global leading workplace strategy solutions today.

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