Pushing Sustainable Offices: Leveraging smart technology for safety, productivity

Returning to a safer and smarter workplace has been a consideration for most businesses and locators in the Philippines. As the global struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic persists, the post-lockdown landscape is focusing on adopting technology and stringent measures to make sure that people and communities are not at risk in environments they frequent such as the office. 

A shift to a more sustainable and smart office is slowly becoming a main point of distinction. In the Philippines, experts say that majority are still likely to return to physical office spaces for certain operational needs such as spontaneous cross-collaboration, mentorship, and even socialization. 

Fostering a collaborative work environment is as important as keeping it safe. Investing in smart technology can ensure that businesses can still grow productivity and cultivate innovation amid the challenges posed by the public health crisis.  

The rise of automation 

Going contactless or touchless is one of the main features to consider for the smart office. Sensors, access cards, or recognition software can be utilized in the entry to and exit from the premises and its amenities. This will help reduce the risks of contamination and transmission in these spaces. 

In some buildings such as JEG Tower @ One Acacia, you can enter through automatic sliding doors, and scanning of QR codes will be implemented so employees and visitors can input their information in a hassle-free manner. In common area bathrooms, automatic faucets and flushing will be installed to make it hands-free or remove unnecessary surface contact. 

RELATED: JEG Tower Focus – Additional Safety Features for Disease Prevention 

More technology efficiency 

Beyond disease prevention, sustainability is supported by smart technology via more efficient use of energy. Elevators using Destination Oriented Allocation System is recommended as it helps reduce congestion at the halls via efficient authorization at security gates and optimum car allocation.  

As one of the premium LEED buildings in Cebu, JEG Tower is one of the spaces that focus on energy efficiency or the proper use of resources for the sake of the environment. This is not only impactful to the occupants of the building but also the Cebuano community as a whole.  

Improved Connection 

The gradual return of the workforce will demand better communication channels and connectivity. Beyond strong ICT infrastructure, smart offices should enable stable and streamlined communication within and outside the organization by availing hi-tech equipment, telco provisions, internet options, and use of software or apps that can support frequent digital communication and collaboration.    

RELATED5 Apps to Help You Get Through Working From Home 

Safer Conduct of Business  

With the ongoing pandemic, minimum public health standards and protocols are in place and should be followed. Prioritizing client and workforce wellbeing by digitizing key aspects of transactions and operations through the smarter use of technology will help guarantee customer satisfaction and employee retention.  

Utilizing digital tools or online-based platforms for virtual tours or contactless payment options will assure convenience and more security. In line with this, one can schedule site viewings to JEG Tower @ One Acacia and answer the mandated health declaration form online ahead of the visit. A 360 virtual showroom will also soon be available for easier viewing of their premium spaces. 

The pivot towards sustainability and pandemic-proofing the workplace goes beyond aesthetics. The value of spaces can be reliant on its ability to invest in the correct technology that will seek to protect the wellness of occupants without sacrificing business continuity or opportunities for expansion.

Sustainable Design: Impacts to New Normal and Climate Change

As the country eases to a more relaxed quarantine status, many begin to look forward to the ‘new normal’. However, health experts remind that this transition is a gradual shift, given the transition would not occur at the flip of the switch

Different industries and business sectors have started employing various strategies to adapt to the changes brought by the pandemic. The real estate sector has undoubtedly been affected by COVID-19 in unprecedented ways, reshaping how developers and investors think about the design and purpose of buildings and establishments. 

Many developments are taking the opportunity to transform the design towards sustainability, prioritizing the health and wellness of their building occupiers and contributing less to environmental degradation. Transitioning to the ‘new normal’ opens a chance for developers and property owners to create spaces that are sanitary and sustainable in the long term, collectively making cities more efficient, safer, cleaner, and smarter. 

Post-Pandemic Office Makeovers 

Redesigning offices to prioritize sanitation and sustainability can result in healthier workspaces. Companies are investing in smart technology to ensure the safety and protection of its employees against various health hazards.  

To ensure minimized contact among occupants, a contactless or a low-touch office experience becomes the new standard. This includes limiting contact in operating certain equipment such as printer screens, elevator buttons, or door handles by replacing them with technology-enabled by sensors. Workplace strategists expect more automatic doors and screens to be more common to significantly remove the need for touching handles or pressing buttons.   

RELATED: The Future of Workplace: Contactless Features and Smart Technology 

New Normal Workplace Design  

Many argue that open office layouts will no longer be the trend in workplace design especially in the new normal. Some suggest that many businesses will resort back to the boxed and cubicle style office to ensure physical distancing among employees.   

However, since these changes will not be abrupt, companies are implementing a staggered seating plan which eradicates ‘elbow-to-elbow’ seating, and the use of shared desks and workstations. This would also result in newfound “openness” as companies reduce tables, chairs, and other office equipment that take up space.  

Some are utilizing a shifting workforce scheme that effectively reduces the number of employees inside the office during specific work hours, capping the in-office staff at 30 to 50 percent to maintain social distancing. 

Workplace strategists also suggest visual cues on floors and walls to ensure a safe six-feet buffer for every employee, regardless of whether they’re sitting at their desk or walking to the restroom.  

Sustainability in Construction for Disease Prevention 

The COVID-19 pandemic has also opened the discussion on the implications of building and construction to climate change and health. More than redesigning workplaces and implementing strategies, the real estate sector can contribute to disease prevention on a larger scale by building with the environment in mind.  

According to some studies, constructing buildings account for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions and consume 40% of the world’s energy. It is also one of the largest sources of CO2 emissions which evidently cause a rampant rise in temperature that worsen climate condition. Research has linked this to the increased risk of pathogens being transmitted between animals and humans.  

Through sustainability and green real estate, buildings aim to use better materials and comply with construction methods that reduce the harmful effects on the environment. Alternative construction materials such as recycled steel, low e-glass, sheep’s wool, bamboo, and cork are beginning to be widely used. Copper is also becoming an alternative to iron construction materials since it is less hospitable to germs and disease-carrying viruses. 

Aside from construction materials, the design of a building also changes to prioritize health and sustainability. Ventilation systems are being reconfigured to flow air down from the ceiling rather than from the floor up. Larger windows are also becoming the standard to allow maximum daylight and reduce energy usage inside buildings. All these modifications are geared towards achieving long-term resiliency and mitigating any future physical or market shocks, together with the reduction of a building’s carbon footprint. 

These changes do not only prioritize the health and safety of employees inside buildings. These are also stringent measures that improve their happiness, motivation, and productivity inside the workspace. 

READ MORE: Employees working in LEED-certified buildings are Happier, Healthier, and More Productive 

The COVID-19 pandemic served as a timely reminder of the role of real estate in shaping the health of communities and impacting the environment. Given the opportunity to adapt and shift towards sustainability, buildings and developments should keep in mind that more people are in need and will demand a safer, healthier, and more sustainable environment. 

Learn more about sustainability in design and real estate. Contact Lorenzo Martin Rodriguez at (+63) 917-825-6884. You can also call us at (+63) 2-8403-5519 or send an email to jegtower@kmcmaggroup.com. 

Getting ahead of the curve: ‘Disease proofing’ the new normal workplace

Globally, several stringent measures are being taken against the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that a “return to normalcy” will happen sooner than projected. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease said that it is possible to experience the “new normal” within the year but the transition to making people feel safe to move around should start early on.  

While many have successes in working remotely, the thought of returning to the office post-lockdown can still trigger pandemic fears and risks. The wellness and safety of the people should be treated as equally important to the economic health of a business by applying stronger employee health measures beyond temperature checks, deep cleaning, or sanitation areas. 

Experts believe that the transition period can be seen as an opportunity to address pre-existing challenges. Rethinking the ways we approach the design and use of the workplace can be utilized to help prevent diseases and protect public health.  

Sanitary Redesign 

Real estate developments need to be more conscious of the materials that they build with given the sustainability shift. In a Forbes report, it is suggested that anti-microbial materials such as copper should be more utilized to be less hospitable to germs. It is also imperative to include key distancing-minded features in their design or pre-build plans. 

To significantly lower the risk of contamination, ventilation systems must be reconfigured to blow air from the ceiling instead of the floor up. It is also recommended that the six-feet distancing buffer is observed by color-coding the floors and ensuring that workstations are properly spaced. 

Productivity & Eco-friendly Design 

Given the concurrent public health crisis, the office must be recognized as an environment too and changes in relation to keeping it healthy and safe should be prioritized. The American Journal of Health believes that improved indoor air quality can impact employee disposition and reduce absenteeism which leads to better productivity. 

Employing a high-quality air filtration system can help in disease prevention such as allergies and asthma. Breathing in good air can also do wonders for mental health as research shows that it helps alleviate stress and depression. 

Other environmental considerations include better acoustics, more natural light, office ergonomics, and ample privacy.  

The Philippines is no stranger to the rise of green developments. Moving beyond the capital, Cebu is home to the sustainable estates such as JEG Tower @ One Acacia who got ahead and placed a premium in the overall sustainable design and build of the tower to better cater to its occupants’ wellbeing and the environment.  

JEG Tower achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) BD+C Core and Shell Silver pre-certification. This guarantees that the estate is optimized for disease prevention, promotes healthier indoor space that encourages movement and activity, lower use of energy, and better water conservation. Its fresh air system is also well-complemented by the installation of the MERV 13 filter than can capture anything as small as 0.3 to 1 micron.  

RELATED: JEG Tower Focus – Additional Safety Features for Disease Prevention 

Aiming to ensure further safety from viruses, it has pivoted successfully in employing adjustments to minimize the risk of contamination through contactless and technology-reliant measures by adding automatic doors, sensors, and scanning of QR codes upon entry.  

As the priorities shift to focus on reshaping spaces ahead of the new normal and protecting communities in the post-lockdown landscape, the demand for efficient properties will only continue to increase. The future of work will rest on spaces that can foster a clean and healthy environment.  

The LEED Advantage: Should commercial buildings in the Philippines go for LEED certification?

As more people become aware of the benefits of a green building in the workplace and the community, many developers are pushing for sustainable and green real estate in the Philippines. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is one of the certifications that buildings in the country can apply to ensure the safety, comfort, and security of its occupants.

Developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), it is an internationally-recognized green building certification program that provides a third-party verification that a building was designed and built following strategies aimed at improving performance, increasing energy savings, water efficiency, and carbon emissions reduction, stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts, and improving indoor environmental quality.

LEED certification is achieved by five main LEED Rating Systems evaluating different aspects of building and construction. Primarily, commercial and office buildings follow LEED Building Design and Construction (BD+C); LEED for Interior Design and Construction (ID+C); LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M).

RELATED: What does LEED mean in Philippine Commercial Real Estate?

These rating systems allow developments to gain points pre-, during, and after the construction phase. Points collected by establishments determine which kind of certification they achieve: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Certified. As establishments correctly implement a strategy, they earn LEED points. The more points earned, the more sustainable the building is.

LEED certification is also recognized globally. It is the most widely adopted benchmark as its standards apply to buildings operating at a global, regional, and local levels. 

People, Planet, Profit

LEED certification differentiates buildings from the rest. It shows how companies put a premium on their tenants’ safety, comfort, and security while staying inside the establishment. It is also a statement for sustainability as green practices and strategies are upheld from the design, materials used, construction, and operations of the building. Lesser construction waste is also produced.

Moreover, a LEED certification also benefits developers and property owners, highlighting the ‘profit’ aspect of the program. Green buildings result in reduced energy and water usage, effectively lowering operating costs.  LEED-certified buildings have a greater resale value and drastically elevate a company’s branding and public image.

READ MORE: Optimizing Buildings for Disease Prevention

Transitioning to the ‘new normal’, office buildings are applying stricter rules and regulations as some companies begin their business re-entry. These guidelines emphasize the health and security of building occupants against disease-causing bacteria and viruses, especially after numerous studies have attributed faster virus spread in the workplace.

One of the main aspects of LEED-certified buildings is its improved indoor air quality. Research has attributed virus outbreaks in office spaces to poor indoor air quality especially in confined spaces. These studies suggest that the filtration of recirculated air may be effective in reducing the transmission of airborne and infectious diseases. High-grade filters remove dust, vapors, bacteria, and fungi, and also effectively capture viral particles spread by droplet nuclei. 

Additionally, LEED-certified buildings optimize the ventilation inside office spaces. Research also found that an increased ventilation rate effectively reduces the cross-infection of airborne transmitted disease by diluting the contaminated air inside the space more rapidly and decrease the risk of cross-infection.

LEED is the new standard

Given the important role of the work environment in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, LEED certification is the new standard in securing the health, well-being, and safety of building occupiers. LEED’s basic principles of people, planet, and profit offer a cohesive standard for developers and property owners to forward the state of well-being of tenants and employees in the workplace.

Pursuing higher quality spaces encourage responsible building and developments that go beyond mere structure. Through green accreditation systems, the welfare of the community in and out of these spaces are prioritized.

Employees working in LEED-certified buildings are Happier, Healthier, and More Productive

More than being safe and protected, employees who are working inside a LEED-certified office building are found to be happier, healthier, and more productive, a study by the US Green Building Council found. Following the main principles that are People, Planet, and Profit, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings are designed and built to promote the overall health and well-being of its occupants while leaving the least negative impacts to the environment. 

Workplaces located inside a LEED-certified building are linked to improved productivity, increased output, and better work performance. The same study also found that the indoor air quality of their work environment contributes to its employees’ fulfillment at work and overall mood during office hours. 

READ MORE: How Green Buildings Improve Indoor Air Quality and Provide A Healthier Working Environment 

More than 80 percent of survey respondents said that having access to clean, high-quality indoor air contributes to their overall workplace happiness. Another 80 percent said that the enhanced air quality improves their physical health and comfort. Numerous studies have linked high-quality air in indoor spaces to the improved cognitive function and focus of its occupiers. According to data, higher indoor air quality significantly enhanced nine specific areas of functional domains namely basic, applied and focused activity levels, task orientation, crisis response, information seeking, information usage, breadth of approach, and strategy. Improved air quality also resulted to better sleep and fewer health symptoms at work. 

Employees also noted that a view of the outdoors and ample natural lighting can also boost their happiness at the office. A recent study has confirmed that natural light in workplaces improve productivity and the overall health of employees. 

LEED-certified buildings such as JEG Tower @ One Acacia have observed the highest set of standards to ensure the overall comfort and safety of its occupants. They are also designed to promote their physical and mental health. 

The 22-storey tower located along Archbishop Reyes Avenue has achieved LEED® BD+C: Core and Shell pre-certification at the Silver Level. Once operational, it will use 12% less energy and water through its efficient and state-of-the-art technology. JEG Development Corporation’s first high-rise development will also give a generous view of the city and provide natural lighting in all office floors. The tower is also made of 20% green space which can also be beneficial to the relaxation and destressing of its occupants. 

RELATED: What is a Healthy Workplace? 

LEED-certified buildings provide a holistic approach to the health and wellbeing of its occupants. By covering physical and psychosocial aspects of wellness, employees located in such buildings are found to be happier, healthier, and perform better at work. 

Looking for an office space located in a LEED-certified building? Discuss your options with Lorenzo Rodriguez through (+63) 917-825-6884. For more information, send us an email at info@kmcmaggroup.com or reach out to us through (+632) 8403-5519. 

JEG Tower Focus: MERV and Fresh Air System for Optimal Indoor Air Quality

Commercial buildings and public spaces play a huge role in the spread of diseases in communities. Offices are even identified as one of the locations where viruses spread quickly in a matter of hours given the amount of time employees spend inside these shared spaces. This fact is also supported by numerous studies that found germs, viruses, and disease-causing bacteria can travel through indoor air and circulation within said spaces. 

Similar to other enclosed areas, the circulated air inside offices can carry microbes through the building’s HVAC systems. Dr. Ali Khan, an epidemiologist and professor at the College of Public Health UNMC at the University of Nebraska, emphasizes the importance of indoor air quality, filtration systems and its maintenance. 

“The maintenance of HVAC systems and air filtration have an impact on how contaminants flow through the air,” Khan said. “If one person is sick, he or she could spread the germs through coughing and sneezing, touching surfaces, and contacting others closely. Even staying at their private desks, germs can also be spread by the flying droplets which settle on any surface and cause contamination”, she added. 

RELATED: Optimizing Buildings for Disease Prevention 

As a LEED-certified building, JEG Tower @ One Acacia improves the indoor air quality of the building from start to finish. It is designed and constructed to the highest standards for health and cleanliness, effectively reducing its tenants’ risk of exposure to harmful elements in the environment. 

From the construction phase, JEG Tower observes the Construction Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Management Plan. This measure is implemented by LEED-certified buildings to protect its HVAC system during construction, control pollutant sources, and interrupt pathways for infection. It also guides the sequence of installation of materials to avoid contamination of absorptive materials such as insulation, carpeting, ceiling tile and gypsum wallboard. 

READ MORE: How Green Buildings Improve Indoor Air Quality and Provide A Healthier Working Environment 

The 22-storey commercial development also utilizes the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values or MERV filters that can capture particles in the air from 0.3 and 10 microns (µm). Higher value in MERV ratings leads to better filtration, fewer dust particles and other airborne contaminants. JEG Tower utilizes the MERV13 filter which is one of the highest-grade filters in the industry. It promotes a healthy breathing environment, and it will not allow the growth of bacteria, mold, mildew, or fungi. Some MERV filters can even filter pollen, dust, and microscopic droplets in the air to a certain extent. 

JEG Tower @ One Acacia also implements the Fresh Air System. Fresh air is added to a heating or cooling system to achieve two indoor air quality goals: pressurize the building and increase in indoor air. According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), building occupants with little or no access to fresh air end up being more exposed to pollutants indoors compared to when they go outdoors. HVAC systems tend to circulate and recycle old air rather than drawing new and fresh air from the outside. 

It is vital to understand the importance of indoor air quality and how air conditioning systems work in optimizing the safety and protection of the building’s occupants. Committed to providing safer spaces in Cebu, JEG Tower @ One Acacia invests in the latest technology and follows the highest industry standards that set people’s health and wellbeing as top priority. 

Aiming to be the best place to work in Cebu City, JEG Tower prioritizes its occupants’ welfare by subscribing to the highest standards in the industry. This Grade A green building has achieved LEED BD+C: Core and Shell precertification at the Silver level, and will continue to earn more LEED points as it finishes construction in 2020. 

What is a ‘Healthy Workplace’?

A healthy workplace is an ideal place to work in. According to some research on employee behavior, one of the top three factors that employees look for in a job is a company’s commitment to health and wellbeing of its employees. This is given more emphasis as the world transitions to the new normal, giving a deeper definition to what a healthy workplace should look like.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently published a document defining what a healthy workplace should be, post pandemic. A healthy work environment is a balance of occupational health and safety, as well as health promotion efforts and initiatives. While there may be varied qualifications and qualities, the WHO has consolidated its concrete definition: 

“A healthy workplace is one in which workers and managers collaborate to use a continual improvement process to protect and promote the health, safety and well-being of workers and the sustainability of the workplace by considering the following, based on identified needs.”  

 Physical Work Environment 

Businesses can provide a healthy workplace by ensuring that the physical work environment is set to the highest industry standards and criteria. An ideal physical work environment ensures that the design and layout of the workplace is optimal for the comfort, productivity, and motivation of its employees. 

RELATED: Optimizing Buildings for Disease Prevention 

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) found that potential employees prefer working in an office located in a LEED-certified building, where their health and wellbeing are considered to be top priority. The same study found that workers based in a LEED-certified green building are found to be more satisfied on their job, and that 79 percent of the respondents agree that they would choose a job in a LEED-certified building over a non-LEED building. 

Uplifting health and safety in the physical work environment should cover indoor air quality, ventilation, maintained optimal humidity, and industry standard protocol for cleaning and maintenance. 

 Psychosocial Work Environment  

A healthy workplace should go beyond physical modifications and provide greater support to employees to their psychosocial needs. The 2018 Global Talent Trends survey found that one in two employees would like to see a greater focus on well-being at their company especially on the physical, psychological and financial wellness of its employees. 

A company’s culture contributes a huge role on the WHO’s definition of a healthy workplace. Programs organized and initiated by a company to promote healthy habits and uplift the general wellbeing of their employees should be holistic—providing focus not just on their physical wellbeing but looking after their mental health as well. One study also raises the issue of psychosocial hazards in the workplace that should be addressed by companies to promote a healthy workplace. These may include organizational culture and the attitudes, values, beliefs and daily practices, that can contribute as stressors to employees. 

Community Health and Wellbeing 

An ideal and healthy workplace is not bound by physical workstations and office floors, but should encompass communities. Providing a workplace setting that uplifts and prioritizes the overall health and wellness of its employees creates a huge impact on public health and vice versa. As active members of the community, employees who spend the majority of their day working in their offices should be in a work environment that ensures their holistic safety and wellbeing. 

RELATED: The Importance of Public Health in Communities 

Premium green buildings, such as JEG Tower @ One Acacia, invests in the well-being of its building occupiers by addressing health and wellbeing in a holistic approach. By following industry-set standards and optimizing building design and operations, it is one of the most ideal locations to work in Cebu City. JEG Tower puts a premium on their health, while practicing sustainability and energy efficiency. 

How Green Buildings Contribute to your Health and Safety

Green buildings are designed to prioritize the general well-being of its occupants by ensuring their health and safety. As the world learned lessons on the importance of the environment concerning public health, a shift towards the construction and development of sustainable green buildings becomes highlighted.  

Changes in the demographics of the workforce and the requirements of a healthy workspace have greatly influenced this innovation in real estate and construction. Initially, the sustainability angle was about reducing the environmental impacts of buildings. However, as the community includes health and wellness in their top priorities, green developers started widening the scope of the advantages of staying in one.  

RELATED: How LEED certification can help prevent disease spread in the future  

Green buildings provide amenities and spaces that are designed and built with an optimized environment that may be beneficial to their tenants’ health and wellbeing. Contributing to an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional wellness, here are 5 reasons why staying in a green building is good for you:  

How-Green-Buildings-Contribute-to-your-Health-and-Safety-content-compressor

Better Brain Function  

Studies prove that the brain’s cognitive performance is greatly affected by the environment it is in. Green buildings impact a person’s cognitive function by improving focus and motivation. One research found that occupants of a green building scored higher in cognitive tests, slept better, and reported fewer health symptoms. 

READ MORE: How green buildings improve indoor air quality & provide a healthier working environment  

Encourages Movement and Activity  

Green buildings are designed to support the physical needs of an individual’s health standards. Spaces inside a green building are conducive environments that provide more opportunities for exercise and physical activity. Designated amenities and equipment are made available in rooms and common areas. Bike racks and shower rooms are also provided for the convenience and comfort of the tenants that wish to exercise.  

Hosts Collaboration and Communication   

Green buildings promote a person’s health and overall wellness by bringing positive social and emotional benefits too. Various health and wellness programs can be a venue for socialization and an opportunity for its tenants to build relationships and connect more.  

Provides Space for Detox and Meditation  

Green buildings also prioritize the mental health of their tenants. More than just contributing to better cognitive function, they also provide spaces that can be used for stress relief and meditation. Green areas and spaces can also relax the brain as the color is associated with calmness.  

RELATED: Taking care of your mental health – Why it matters in a time of a pandemic 

Built for Resilience  

Green buildings are also designed and built under the highest standards for resilience. Engineers, architects, and building designers work together to increase planning to cope with natural disasters and environmental threats. Moreover, sustainable materials are also used to construct green buildings, reducing its negative impacts on the environment.  

Interested in locating in a green building too? Contact Michael Glindro at (+63) 917-584-0443 or through mike.g@kmcmaggroup.com. You may also reach out to us at (+63) 2-8403-5519 or through info@kmcmaggroup.com.  

Ways to strengthen your immune system during a pandemic

Since the vaccine for COVID-19 is still on the works, the World Health Organization has advised the public that proper handwashing and hygiene practices, as well as social distancing, remains to be the best defense against the virus. Experts also agree that a strong immune system can keep you healthy and give you a sense of control in an uncertain time.  

Eat right and keep a balanced diet  

One of the most effective ways of keeping a healthy immune system is eating right. Begin by filling your plate with immune-boosting fruits and vegetables such as carrots, kale, oranges, strawberries, and broccoli. Eggs, milk, nuts, and mushrooms can also provide necessary vitamins and nutrients to keep your immunity up during a pandemic.  

Get active and exercise  

Physical activity can give your immune system a great boost in a myriad of ways. Researchers have shown that exercise improves immune systems. Exercising regularly improves your body’s natural production of antibodies that help in fighting viruses and infection.  

Relax and try meditation  

Living through a pandemic is a very stressful circumstance that it can negatively affect the immune system and take a toll on a person’s mental health. A recent study involving more than 1,600 people has suggested that meditation boosts their immune system. Meditation can be as simple as taking time in the morning or at night, relaxing, and breathing properly and emptying your mind.  

Stress and anxiety management  

Numerous studies have linked stress and the immune system. In fact, a study has proven that psychological stress increases susceptibility to illness. According to health experts, prolonged or chronic stress can negatively impact the immune system as it reduces the body’s natural ability to fight viruses and bacteria. Moreover, people under a lot of stress are more likely to develop poor coping strategies such as excessive alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, poor diet, or lack of sleep which also negatively impact the immune system. 

Optimizing Buildings for Disease Prevention

The connection between health and the environment becomes increasingly defined as the world learns more about the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this new coronavirus strain can be spread in three main ways:  

  • Person-to-person via direct contact;  
  • Person-to-person via airborne respiratory droplets produced when an infected person cough or sneezes;  
  • Surface-to-person via contact with surfaces or objects that hold the virus, followed by an individual touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.  

Buildings and public spaces play a huge role in disease prevention and control. From its design to operations, buildings contribute to the battle against the spread of viruses in workplaces and offices. 

Here are some modifications and optimizations buildings can adapt to prevent another pandemic in the future:  

Promote High-quality Indoor Air  

Buildings and commercial establishments should promote high-quality indoor air quality and follow a set of standards that focuses on the ventilation and air-conditioning system. This effectively provides clean air into the building and to the office spaces. Research suggests that filtration of recirculated air may be effective in reducing the transmission of airborne infectious diseases. Filters remove dust, vapors, bacteria, and fungi, and also effectively capture viral particles spread by droplet nuclei.  

RELATED: How Green Buildings improve indoor air quality, provide a healthier working environment  

Increased Ventilation  

Ventilating with outdoor air also plays a vital role in diluting airborne contaminants and decreasing disease transmission rates within establishments. According to studies, increasing the ventilation rate can effectively reduce the cross-infection of airborne transmitted diseases by removing or diluting pathogen-laden airborne droplet nuclei. It can dilute the contaminated air inside the space more rapidly and decrease the risk of cross-infection  

Maintained Optimal Humidity  

Evidence suggests that viruses survive better in low-humidity environments. One optimization buildings can implement after the pandemic is to increase humidity via heating and ventilation systems and maintain an optimal range to 40 to 60%. This can also be achieved by installing humidifiers inside the building premises.  

Improved cleaning and maintenance protocols  

Another aspect that buildings can focus on when optimizing for disease prevention is highlighting the importance of its property management teams. Workplace policies, guidelines, and protocols must also be restructured to adapt to the “new normal” as the world observe changes this pandemic brings. The modifications and strict enforcement of these procedures should be one of the most essential responsibilities of a building’s property management team during, and even after the crisis.  

A healthy building contributes to a healthy community, which, in the long run, play a central role in creating a healthy world. In addition to everyday precautions taken by individuals and employees, the real estate industry, building owners, and developers should be aware of these optimizations that can greatly contribute to virus outbreaks in the future.