Time to get inspired and embrace the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI™) spirit.

Wilma Rendon | 8 May 2020

With new challenges come new opportunities. It’s time to get inspired and embrace the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI™) spirit. JDJ Architects team member Wilma Rendon, WELL AP, promotes the use of the WELL framework in our projects. In these unprecedented times of rapid change, one size does not fit all. But one thing remains constant: our people are our greatest asset. The spirit of the WELL certification places people’s wellbeing at its heart and provides us with a framework or guide to evaluate/inform our building and design process. This knowledge is applicable to any size project or business. It is a way of thinking that informs a way of life.

The WELL v2 Pilot is comprised of the following concepts: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind, Community, and Innovation. At our own practice, we decided to embrace the Well framework and rethink how we can implement these concepts in our studio. We took one action at a time. Let me describe the first six.

Action #1: Comfort - First, we invested in new office furniture. We researched the ergonomics and sustainability of our chairs and desks. As an architecture studio, we tend to spend much of our time seated at our desks, so we switched over to a sit-stand desk system. Initially, we weren’t sure whether our team would utilize the desks’ features. Two years later, I am happy to communicate that our desks move up and down quite often.

Action #2: Water - We invested in a water filtration system integrated in our café area to encourage our staff to stay hydrated and avoid bottled water. This small investment not only improved the health of our employees but also the health of Mother Earth as it eliminated the need for plastic water bottles.

Action #3: Nourishment - We all have a sweet tooth! However, we made talking about our food choices part of our office culture, fostering good eating habits to support a culture of good health. We decided to provide complimentary healthy snacks and fruit for our staff. We made a conscious effort to tell our very generous building product reps of our healthier food preferences. They now provide healthy, energizing meals for our Lunch-n-Learn sessions.

Action #4: Fitness - Through ongoing company contests and small company policies, we motivate our team to stay active and promote exercise and outdoor time. Our staff consists of marathon runners, triathletes, swimmers and yoga enthusiasts.

Action #5: Mind – Mental health has become a priority, especially today when there is much uncertainty. Routines have changed; shelter-in-place mandates have been imposed. We are adapting to a new reality. The traditional 9 to 5 job has been turned upside-down. Thanks to the benefits of smart technologies, we were able to quickly implement a work-from-home environment. We implemented digital connectivity through cloud-based solutions, continuing to serve our clients while supporting each other.

Action #6: Biophilia - Bringing nature indoors has been proven to contribute to our wellbeing. Before we return to our office, we will bring interior greenery to welcome our team to their space and celebrate being together again.

The current pandemic has made us more aware of our health than ever before. It has given us an opportunity to rethink our work environments within the WELL framework. We at JDJ Architects will continue to partner with you in this process. Let’s continue developing user-centric design solutions and policies that enhance the lives of everyone.

Wilma Rendon

Wilma Rendon

Wilma Rendon, Business Development

Wilma Rendon’s career in architecture spans eighteen years. It began in Quito, Ecuador where she worked as an associate designer for DIPLAN, a prominent architecture firm in Ecuador. Ms. Rendon taught at two major Ecuadorian universities.