Amid the widespread shift towards remote work following the pandemic, key players in the real estate sector are actively embracing innovative measures to counter the rise of vacant offices.

Addressing this challenge is a novel scheme called Certified Metrics (‘CM’), introduced to elevate social standards within buildings.

Developed by sustainability technology firm Evora Global and healthy building certification platform Fitwel, CM introduces a comprehensive method for assessing a building’s social standards. This system analyses various factors such as air quality, daylight accessibility, opportunities for walking, and the building’s interaction with its environment.

Sarah Coughlan, head of social wellbeing at Evora Global, stresses the need for global adoption of CM in large-scale buildings. She urges the real estate sector to accord the same seriousness to social standards as they do to financial metrics. “With WFH persisting as the norm, prioritising social aspects is crucial to driving a shift. It’s clear: embrace social standards or succumb to the WFH trend.”

Pilot Implementation and Industry Participation

The CM standard is undergoing trials in numerous buildings across the UK, Europe, and the US. Leading names in real estate, including BGO, Hudson Pacific Properties, Lendlease Americas, QuadReal Property Group, Tishman Speyer, and Vornado Realty Trust, actively participate in this pioneering initiative.

Commenting on the industry’s response, Coughlan expresses surprise at the overwhelming reception to this concept. “The real estate sector perceives this as a pivotal moment, recognising it as an opportunity to elevate overall standards,” she adds.

Joanna Frank, President and CEO of Fitwel, highlights the correlation between health initiatives and employee satisfaction, emphasizing the commitment to expedite consensus on social standards. “Efforts promoting health directly impact satisfaction levels and contribute to employee retention. Fitwel aims to swiftly establish a consensus on social standards, drawing from environmental precedents and evidence-backed strategies linking the built environment with health outcomes.”