News release

Healthy buildings that prioritize WELL-being an imperative in the next normal

Seven in 10 companies in Asia Pacific willing to pay higher rent for green buildings

September 13, 2021

Healthy buildings that prioritize WELL-being an imperative in the next normal

The pandemic increased the demand among corporate occupiers for a workplace that ensures their employees’ overall health, security, and productivity. This has put the pressure on investors and developers to build structures that meet international standards, such as the WELL Building Standard, which put the wellness of occupiers at the forefront of design and operations. 

In its latest thought leadership webinar, real estate services and consultancy firm JLL Philippines showcased its WELL pre-certification journey for its head office in Makati, as well as the benefits of the certification for investors, developers, and occupiers. 

WELL Building Standard is an international rating system that advances health and well-being in buildings globally by measuring how human wellness is integrated in the structure.

“Even before the pandemic, statistics have already shown high levels of work-related stress and illnesses for people across many different countries. More than ever, it is vital to start thinking about buildings as a means for preventive healthcare and as a tool to combat work-related health issues,” said Astee Lim, Sustainability Manager, Energy and Sustainability Services of JLL Asia Pacific, during the webinar.

WELL has more than 100 internationally recognized criteria backed by the latest scientific research to provide guidance in charting a roadmap to achieving a healthy work space. The criteria span across 10 concepts: air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind, and community.

“WELL is seen as an industry differentiator especially amid the pandemic,” said Lim.

Oliver Chan, SVP for Sales, Leasing and Marketing Operations of Arthaland Corporation and President & General Manager of Emera Property Management Inc. said during the webinar that more than a decade ago, people were hesitant about the possibility and benefits of net zero and sustainable buildings. “People weren’t thinking about health and wellness in buildings before, but when the pandemic happened, the interest spiked.”

Studies have shown that wellness workplaces can bring increased productivity, reduced medical expenses, better talent attraction, higher level of employee engagement and satisfaction, and a more positive corporate culture.

 If achieving WELL certifications creates such positive impact to companies, why is it not adapted on a wider scale basis yet? 

Carmen Jimenez-Ong, CEO and Founder of Menarco Development Corporation, underscored that lack of information largely contributes to this, adding the misconception that constructing healthy buildings are too costly. However, she highlighted the investment is worth it.

“A healthy building adds about 3% to 5% to your construction cost. Typically, you can recoup the investment in over five years through savings on energy and water consumption while enjoying the good quality of indoor air, water, natural sunlight, among many other benefits. The effects go beyond the individual—these multiply to the company, the country, and even the world,” she explained.

“There is a more meaningful return of investment when you lease in a certified building because you invest in your people, in a more efficient energy consumption, and in a more sustainable future,” added Antonio Sabarre, JLL Philippines’ Senior Director for Office Leasing Advisory during the panel discussion. This furthers the findings in JLL’s recent survey which shows that 70% of occupiers across Asia Pacific are willing to pay a premium to be in a healthy building.

“Nowadays, there's absolutely no other way to build except to keep people's health as a main consideration of design decisions moving forward,” said Jimenez-Ong.

Calum Swinnerton, JLL Philippines’ Head of Project and Development Services, also mentioned that landlords can also take the WELL journey as part of the enhancement of their existing buildings. “JLL can help owners analyze their assets to ascertain the most beneficial steps towards enhancing the structure for wellness. They can focus more on WELL’s operational facets such as taking care of the mind and community well-being, as well as the materials they use for internal fit-out, installing HVAC systems, among others. This way, the building can be offered back to the market quicker.”

“JLL Philippines has maintained that the office will stay relevant in the Future of Work,” said Swinnerton. “Employees themselves express the need for a minimum of three days per week of working in the office to feel engaged, empowered and fulfilled. By encouraging more investors and developers to build healthier structures, we also build more confidence in employees to return to the office and be more productive and fulfilled.”

To watch the webinar, “The Path to WELLness: Best Practices from WELL-certified Developments,” visit JLL Philippines’ website or click here.

JLL regularly holds knowledge-sharing events and publishes thought leadership pieces on the latest trends and insights in the real estate market. To know more, follow JLL’s social media pages on Facebook and LinkedIn

JLL has been operating in the Philippines since 1997 as a 100% wholly owned entity and currently manages about 4.4 million square meters of real estate with a workforce of over 1,400 employees. With more than two decades of local expertise working hand-in-hand with its global legacy, JLL provides to the Philippine real estate market an unparalleled synergy of services with a strong commitment to achieve real estate ambitions through future-ready approaches. For further information, visit

About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. JLL shapes the future of real estate for a better world by using the most advanced technology to create rewarding opportunities, amazing spaces and sustainable real estate solutions for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $16.6 billion in 2020, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of more than 92,000 as of June 30, 2021. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit