What's new in WELL v2: Mind

What's new in WELL v2: Mind

Monday, September 24, 2018
/ By:
Emily Winer

WELL Concepts
WELL v2 Mind

Mental health is a fundamental component of human health and is vital for the physical and social well-being of all individuals, communities and societies. It is not simply the absence of a mental health condition. Rather, mental health is a state of well-being in which individuals are able to live to their fullest potential, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and contribute to their community. The WELL Mind concept promotes mental health through strategies that seek to address the diverse factors that influence cognitive and emotional well-being.   

Why Mind matters

Mental health conditions are pervasive throughout our society. An estimated 18% of adults will, over the span of a 12-month period, experience a common mental health condition such as anxiety, depression or substance abuse. Over 30% of adults will experience a common mental health condition during their lifetime.

The impact of mental health in the workplace is profound. Approximately two-thirds of individuals experiencing common mental health conditions are employed, and depression and anxiety alone cost the global economy an estimated USD $1 trillion due to lost productivity.

Failure to address mental health in the workplace can contribute to high turnover; presenteeism and absenteeism; repetitive recruitment and training costs; increased accidents and injuries; and increased use of drug plans, disability claims, sick leave, employee assistance plans (EAPs) and other costly supports.

Combined, these outcomes underscore the way in which mental health has an impact on every employee, manager, team and leader across an organization.

What’s new with Mind in WELL v2

Despite the many challenges to creating an environment that fosters mental health and well-being, solutions do exist. By investing in resources and changing the overall culture around workplace mental health, organizations can create an atmosphere in which each individual, and the company as a whole, thrives. WELL projects like CBRE Madrid are creating enriching and inspiring workplaces that bring nature indoors and encourage productivity.

The Mind concept in WELL v2 introduces new design, programmatic, and policy strategies focused on leveraging the built environment as a powerful tool to positively influence mental health and well-being. The introduction of the WELL v2 Community concept provides an opportunity for the Mind concept to focus on mental health, with many Mind v1 features migrating over to their new home in Community.  

Recognizing that approaches to mental health and well-being vary greatly based on the unique needs of a population, the number of Mind preconditions has been reduced from five to two. The goal of the Mind concept is not to prescribe a one-size-fits-all approach to supporting mental well-being, but rather to allow projects to tailor strategies based on their own priority areas and occupant needs.

Mind in WELL v2 recognizes that the promotion of mental well-being is an essential step in creating a healthy culture. That’s why Mind in WELL v2 features a brand new precondition, M01: Mental Health Promotion. Many individuals are unable to properly recognize when they are experiencing a mental health condition, and fear of stigma is shown to be a contributing factor toward underutilization of mental healthcare services available in the workplace. By promoting and normalizing the discussion of mental health, projects can help relieve stigma, enhance knowledge and better support a mentally healthy workplace.

A key component of promotion is education, highlighted by the new Mind feature M04 Mental Health Education. In the workplace, mental health education interventions can help create a more supportive environment by enhancing knowledge and awareness, reducing stigmatizing attitudes and discrimination and increasing help-seeking.

Another component of Mind includes a focus on helping individuals develop a work-life balance, manage the inevitable daily stressors of life, and become more resilient to help buffer burnout. Mind in v2 introduces a number of features focused on these areas, including M05 Stress Support, M06 Restorative Opportunities, M07 Restorative Spaces, and M08 Restorative Programming.

Simple strategies, such as offering sufficient paid time off or integrating breaks during the workday can have an enormous impact, as outlined in new feature M06 Restorative Opportunities. Studies suggest that all types of breaks away from work, such as vacations, weekends, evenings and short periods during the workday, significantly improve employee health and mental wellness. The findings indicate that mentally distancing oneself from work and engaging in restorative activities is linked to employee well-being, including higher life satisfaction and mood, maintained workplace performance, lower burnout and fewer health complaints.

Additionally, improving opportunities for restoration by offering mindfulness programming (M08 Restorative Programming), providing spaces for quiet relaxation (M07 Restorative Spaces) and supporting of optimal sleep (M11 Sleep Support), can have a marked impact on physical and mental well-being, including relief from the negative symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, pain and stress, as well as improvements in overall perceived health.

Lastly, enhanced design strategies surrounding access to nature (M02 Access to Nature and M09 Enhanced Access to Nature), as well as productivity and focus (M10 Focus Support) can help relieve workplace stress, as well as reduce sick absences and general health complaints.

Evolution and impact

Scientific understanding of the mind is ever evolving and expanding. The WELL v2 Mind concept will continue to evolve under the guidance of our Mind concept advisory. This exceptional, global group of researchers, mindfulness experts, interior designers and workplace wellness advocates provides guidance on the implementation, feasibility and impact of requirements that impact mental well-being.

At IWBI, we recognize that addressing mental health can have a major impact on individuals and communities. By providing a framework for environments where mental health is prioritized, the new WELL v2 Mind concept aims to support individuals in reaching a state of well-being that allows them to bring their best selves to the places where they live, work and play every single day.

Learn more about the Mind concept in WELL v2 here


Emily Winer supports the Standard Development team at IWBI, drawing on her knowledge of the built environment, research and public health to serve as the Mind concept lead.