When we heard that leading Spanish furniture manufacturer, Actiu, is aiming to become the first industrial park in the world to receive the WELL Certification, we immediately thought, ‘We’ve got a two-for-the-price-of-one story here!’ Not only is this a fantastic wellbeing case study, it’s also a fascinating focus on a great furniture business.
Actiu’s Technological Park in Castalla (Alicante) is in the process of becoming the first industrial complex in the world to receive the WELL v2 Platinum Certification, which accredits the company’s headquarters as a healthy space, ensuring the wellbeing of those who work there. Thus, Actiu´s facilities would be on the list of the 17 healthiest buildings in the world and among the six WELL buildings in Spain – with the honour of being the only one to achieve Platinum status. This is in addition to the certification that the park previously had, in the shape of the LEED Platinum Certification, granted in 2017 by the US Green Building Council.
This guarantees that its headquarters complies with sustainable architectural requirements. Applying the principles of WELL within the Technology Park has been an exercise in reflection that has led to improvements and adjustments in its workspaces. The process has provided Actiu with knowledge and experience that will enable it to implement those same values and principles in the interior design and furniture projects it undertakes for its customers.
These modifications have included everything from providing drinking and filtered water stations within 30 metres of any work area, through to implementing measures to promote sport, with the presence of sports trainers, as well as the provision of a gym and the internal promotion of healthy lifestyle habits. Fresh fruit is offered every day, vending machines selling healthy foods have been incorporated and the sensors and the methodology applied to measure the air and water quality have been adapted according to WELL parameters.
In addition, operational positions have been updated with the company’s new furniture ranges that, as well as providing credits for WELL certification, are more dynamic, facilitate collaboration and communication, and ensure superior comfort.
Investment has even been made in the elimination of harmful substances in many products – such as formaldehyde in melamine boards.
All operating positions now have adjustable monitors and at least 25% of users work at adjustable workstations, allowing them to perform tasks in a seated or standing position. In addition, all operative task chairs are adjustable in height, depth and angle, perfectly adapting to each user.
At Actiu, at least 70% of workstations have direct access to natural light, with roller blinds controlling glare. The design of the environment ensures that there are no changes in light intensity between different rooms.
When it comes to thermal comfort, Actiu’s facilities have radiant heating and measurements are taken to verify that the temperature does not vary and that it is at the right level for optimum working conditions, as well as controlling humidity levels, which are kept between 30%-60%. Meeting and open areas are controlled by zoned thermostat systems that are accessible to all.
From a conceptual point of view, the interior design is based upon the principles of biophilic design, with the space featuring patterns of nature. Hence, Actiu has specified an extensive range of natural finishes, such as wood and soft colours.
The already existing interior gardens have been reinforced with ‘green corners’, while the windows enable natural light to flood into the space and provide great views of the outside world. Workstations have been organised in a more organic way, taking advantage of the shape of the furniture. Workstation surfaces have improved reflective capacity and communications, while physical activity benefits have been increased.
The result of this transformative process has been precisely that: employees who feel comfortable in the space they work in, who know that it has been designed for them, that it benefits their health and in which collaboration and communication between teams is not only more natural, but more efficient – a space that has a direct impact on people’s motivation and performance.