HOUSTON – (By Dale King, Realty News Report) – The Well Living Lab, a collaboration of the Mayo Clinic and the Delos real estate wellness and technology firm, is joining forces with Hines and Cushman & Wakefield to study the design and operation of workspaces to help prevent the spread of respiratory ills such as coronavirus.
The announcement arrives just as many U.S. states are taking tiny steps to break out of the COVID-19 stranglehold that has immobilized the world’s businesses, travel, dining, entertainment and religious sectors. A coronavirus pandemic has virtually shut down global economies and deprived millions of their jobs.
In advance of anticipated return-to-work guidelines coming with the reopening of the stalled business world, the Well Living Lab will leverage its field study capabilities for interventions with Cushman & Wakefield’s and Hines’ offices, along with Delos’ global headquarters in New York.
Houston-based Hines CEO Jeff Hines commented, “Our people have been pioneers in creating progressive real estate that advances the built environment, so joining this effort is a natural way for us to give back, while continuing to anticipate and meet the needs of tenants, clients and investors.”
“As we contemplate reopening our offices in the wake of COVID-19,” Hines said, “it is critical that we take an evidence-based approach to make our workspaces safer when we return.”
Cushman & Wakefield is a global real estate services firm with some 53,000 employees and office locations in 400 cities in 60 countries. Houston-based Hines is a privately owned global real estate investment company founded in 1957, with a presence today in 205 cities and 24 countries.
“We know that buildings have a tremendous impact on our health and well-being, and the role of indoor spaces has now become more important than ever,” said Paul Scialla, founder and CEO of Delos. “As we contemplate reopening our offices in the wake of COVID-19, it is critical that we take an evidence-based approach to make our workspaces safer when we return.”
The 5,000-SF Well Living Lab, located adjacent to the Mayo Clinic campus in Rochester, Minn., will use its “living lab” office space to generate insights and evaluate technologies for reducing the risk of respiratory virus transmission in work environments. Rich in sensor technology, the lab is designed to simulate a number of indoor environmental settings.
Each firm taking part in the study will draw from its store of expertise. Cushman & Wakefield will contribute its proficiency in workplace strategy and design practices, including protocols for maintaining physical distancing policies and other concepts for returning to offices.
Delos will contribute its knowledge in air filtration strategies for reducing particulate matter concentration, applying surface hygiene protocols, devising algorithms designed to remediate indoor environmental concerns and coming up with software to promote occupant adoption of behavioral changes necessary to support healthy environments.
“We look forward to this continued collaboration with Delos and the Well Living Lab as we work together to promote a safe workplace as offices reopen,” said Brett White, Cushman & Wakefield executive chairman and CEO.
Since 2016, the Well Living Lab has assembled leading alliance organizations to study the convergence of building sciences and health sciences. This includes the International Well Building Institute (IWBI), a public benefit corporation and Well Living Lab alliance member.
“Our clients are very interested in new workplace strategies that align with the science at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19,” said Despina Katsikakis, head of Workplace Business Performance for Cushman & Wakefield. “We’re pleased to expand on our 6 Feet Office prototype with further testing in areas like advanced air filtration and surface hygiene technologies.”
“The Well Living Lab is uniquely positioned to bring together building and health sciences expertise and technologies to generate and disseminate discoveries,” said Dr. Veronique Roger, the lab’s director of research and Mayo Clinic cardiologist. “This knowledge will help prepare the world for post COVID-19 safe environments in office and other settings.”
Hines will contribute lessons learned from its six-decade history of creating innovative, sustainable real estate, drawing management expertise from many of the firm’s key leaders in development, engineering, innovation and property management across product sectors. The firm has developed a number of high-rise towers in Houston and elsewhere around the world.