Putting people first: 2degrees awarded Aotearoa’s first Platinum WELL certification

June 9, 2022
2degrees’ new head office designed by Warren and Mahoney is the first in Aotearoa New Zealand to achieve WELL Certification at Platinum level under the WELL Building Standard V2 (WELL v2).

WELL is a flexible points-based certification scheme, designed to help organisations incorporate health and wellness strategies into their building design, operations, and policies, and is the world’s first building standard that focuses exclusively on human health and well-being.

This milestone is a significant step in 2degrees’ health and wellness mission to have the healthiest team in New Zealand.

“People are at the heart of our purpose,” says Ben Blakemore, Head of Property at 2degrees’ ~5,400m2 office space at 136 Fanshawe Street, Auckland. “Fostering a workplace environment that has a positive impact on the health and well-being of our people is our number one priority. We are very proud to have led the country in this space, achieving Platinum - the highest level of WELL Certification.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted many organisations to a remote or hybrid working approach, and our commitment to employee well-being means that when our people choose to be in the office, we want to ensure it is a space that helps them thrive. Our Fanshawe Street building allows people to choose how they want to work, where they want to work, and what they want from their workplace. Activity and movement are encouraged via the central blue staircase and large open view across the floors provides connection of teams to the greater business,” adds Blakemore.

To achieve this certification, 2degrees alongside Warren and Mahoney had to intentionally design many positive well-being features within the fitout. This included enhancing air quality through Kaiterra Sensors across the two levels of the office building which provide real time data of the current dust, VOC, humidity, temperature, and CO2 levels.

“Lighting has been designed to elevate circadian rhythm with all four facades of the building benefitting from natural light with a high window to floor ratio design and an atrium in the middle. We do things like raising the blinds every day to make sure staff have full access to the benefits of natural light. Sound mapping and the use of different materials helps to provide acoustic performance and supports different ways of working and the usability of each space,” says Blakemore.

"WELL recognises the integration of our building with our people, working together to support health and well-being. Our building gives our people access to restorative areas for Hauora (wellness) including the Harikoa room for mediation, prayer and yoga, and our extensive wellness programme provides our people with the ability to claim a gym visit back when travelling and access to programmes to support their mental health."

Asha Page, Interior and Workplace Designer at Warren and Mahoney says, “The 2degrees workplace design is based on three strong design narratives - be audacious, be the protagonist, and be heroic. The outcome is an environment which celebrates the uniqueness and practicality of 2degrees. It provides staff with lots of delightful moments throughout the workplace with the use of bold colours and quirky graphics but still offers areas of restorative retreat and quiet concentration found deeper in the floorplate.”

The 420m2 staff hub allows staff, visitors, and guests to connect and interact within the workplace which also opens out onto a balcony where fresh produce is available in an outside garden. Staff can help themselves to the growing abundance of fruit, lettuce, and herbs to add something healthy and nutritious to their lunch. Staying hydrated is also important and the building’s water quality is tested against the WELL requirements for sediment, bacteria, organic and inorganic contaminants, as well as taste properties, to ensure that the building’s plumbing system doesn’t negatively impact on the water quality.

“We would like to congratulate 2degrees for becoming the first company in New Zealand to achieve WELL Certification at their Auckland head office, impressively earning the highest designation at the Platinum level. The current pandemic has led corporate organisations around the world to find a new normal; 2degrees has led the way towards healthier, happier workplaces by committing to evidence-based interventions that support employee health, safety and well-being,” says Tori Shepherd from The International WELL Building Institute.

“As employee well-being has become a huge part of employers’ responsibility, we encourage other companies in New Zealand to consider how they can apply WELL principles to their workplaces to foster a culture of health that focuses on more positive impacts on employees,” adds Shepherd.

View more about this project here.