Helvar HQ awarded prestigious WELL Certificate

Helvar announced today that it has been awarded WELL Certification at the Gold level for its HQ in Espoo, Finland by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). The prestigious distinction was awarded through IWBI’s WELL v2 pilot, the latest version of the WELL Building Standard. WELL is the premier building standard to focus on enhancing people’s health and wellness through the buildings where we live, work and play.

Helvar HQ is the first project to receive WELL Certification under WELL v2 in Finland and Scandinavia and the fifth in Europe. The WELL Building Standard offers an excellent framework to design a people focused workplace. Helvar HQ was designed with such a forward-looking mindset that it was relatively easy to adapt the office in its existing state to improve the conditions in order to meet and achieve WELL features. The WELL certification process gave the Helvar HQ a chance to cross check and improve ideas to develop its existing concepts further.

Created through seven years of rigorous research and development working with leading physicians, scientists, and industry professionals, the WELL Building Standard is a performance-based certification system that marries best practices in design and construction with evidence-based scientific research. Helvar HQ earned the distinction based on ten categories of building performance — Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind and Community — and achieved a Gold level rating.

“This is a proud moment and a great achievement for us all at Helvar to have our headquarters become officially WELL Certified. Later on the Helvar WELL project team will be organising a number of WELL events at the Helvar HQ which include a tour of the office. We welcome you to join us in celebrating our WELL Certification” said Paula Ristoja, Head of Luminaire Manufacturer Channel.

In 2016 the Helvar headquarters were moved to Espoo. The relocation project provided a perfect opportunity to also improve working conditions and take other aspects into account, for example, increasing movement with the use of electric desks to encourage standing, and also to improve office accessibility. The office location was chosen based on the following criteria: easy commuting, building age, access to natural light and nature, capability to support sports, and open plan areas that enhance
socialising and communication. The location also offers support for exercise with excellent cycling routes, bike parking, and saunas, a gym and showers accessible on the top floor.

The office renovation was designed to exceed the typical criteria and especially exceed lighting standard requirements to increase employee wellbeing through optimum lighting. With Helvar being a lighting controls specialist, we installed our own solutions in the office. Helvar employees (otherwise known as Helvarians) are now literally living under their own lighting. Smoothly controlled high lumen outputs offer an opportunity to, for instance support concentration, and give an energising boost of bright light during the dark winter months.

The office is split into acoustic areas to allow spaces for social, semi-social and quiet work. Hot desking is the house rule with the intention for Helvarians to sit in a different seat each day. There is a capacity of desks for around 70% of the total number of employees which meets the demand well. With Helvar’s flexible working policy, it is a rare occasion that the office is fully occupied.

The Social Kitchen is the heart of the Helvar HQ. The space is used for a variety of purposes from taking mini breaks, to running presentations and events, and challenging each other in a match of fuss ball or a game of table hockey. The atmosphere has become more relaxed and employee diversity has improved through new talent hunting during the past few years. Helvarians have provided excellent feedback on the working conditions. Feedback is valued highly and collected twice a year to enable further improvements.

WELL is grounded in a body of evidence-based research that explores the connection between the buildings where we spend approximately 90 percent of our time, and the health and wellness impacts on the people inside these buildings. To be awarded WELL Certification by IWBI, Helvar HQ underwent rigorous testing and a final evaluation carried out by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), which is the third-party certification body for WELL, to ensure it met all WELL Certified Gold performance requirements.

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