Throughout Europe, the well-being of building occupants is receiving increased attention from developers and investors, reflecting a movement that is gaining momentum globally.
To capture the latest trends and developments in this field, ULI Europe’s largest national council, ULI United Kingdom, published a landmark report, Picture of health: The growing role of well-being in commercial real estate investment decision-making, which says that the wave of interest in well-being is expected to translate into significant investment over the next three years.
The report is based on a comprehensive survey of leading property experts carried out to understand how health and well-being are influencing investment decisions across the real estate industry. The findings reflect survey responses from almost 100 ULI members and interviews with 17 investors, developers, fund managers, consultants, valuers, and analysts. Eighty-six percent of all respondents expect to increase their investment in well-being in the next three years, with 17 percent anticipating this increase to be “significant.”
The momentum for the trend is part of wider changes in the workspace toward flexibility and shared space, as well as companies looking for improved office environments as a way to meet the expectations of the younger generations in the competition for talent.
The survey revealed that the expected investment will largely be driven by perceived tenant demand rather than investor demand or government policy, as occupiers fight to attract and retain talent across an ever more mobile—and socially conscious—workforce.
For those surveyed, well-being investment is mainly influencing decision-making in the areas of design, fit-out, and development stages. Less influence was being seen in leasing and lease renewal activities or when buildings were bought or sold. This might partly reflect the fact that there is less evidence of the impact of well-being being reflected in values.
“The increased interest in health and well-being we are already seeing from major players in the real estate industry cements the fact that well-being is becoming central to development and investment strategies,” says Victoria Lockhart, cochair of ULI U.K.’s Sustainability Forum and director of market development at the International WELL Building Institute. “As companies seek to attract top talent, well-being is increasingly prioritized as fundamental to environmental, social, and governance [ESG] factors. Companies are looking closely at the workspaces they offer as well as how the workplace can help translate a company’s values and build a culture of health.”