Interaction's Thrivalism

Environmental Hazards with Joanna Watchman

August 05, 2021 Interaction Season 1 Episode 3
Environmental Hazards with Joanna Watchman
Interaction's Thrivalism
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Interaction's Thrivalism
Environmental Hazards with Joanna Watchman
Aug 05, 2021 Season 1 Episode 3

Are Bad Working Environments More Detrimental to our Wellbeing than Bad Habits?

In this episode, Interaction's Head of Workplace Research and Strategy, Deborah Wilder, is joined by Founder of Work in Mind, Joanna Watchman in an exploration of ways our environments shape us – both positively and negatively. We discuss the ways design can affect our health, mood and our quality of life and explore the role of WELL buildings in shaping spaces that allow people to thrive.


Thanks for listening! Check out Interaction's website for more workplace culture content and case studies (or just follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter).

Show Notes Transcript

Are Bad Working Environments More Detrimental to our Wellbeing than Bad Habits?

In this episode, Interaction's Head of Workplace Research and Strategy, Deborah Wilder, is joined by Founder of Work in Mind, Joanna Watchman in an exploration of ways our environments shape us – both positively and negatively. We discuss the ways design can affect our health, mood and our quality of life and explore the role of WELL buildings in shaping spaces that allow people to thrive.


Thanks for listening! Check out Interaction's website for more workplace culture content and case studies (or just follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter).

Joanna Watchman:  We get a lot of stuff sent to us for work in mind from architects primarily. Yeah. Who will tell me with lots of lovely PR babble and fluff about their superb project and they will tell me all the same language. Oh, it was delivered with, you know, well-being, aspirations, objectives in mind. OK, well, let's just push on that. So I will ask you some questions now. Mr. Architect. Miss Architect and I ask for the numbers and they can never tell me anything other than some anecdotal evidence what the impact was for.


Dieter Wood: Hi and welcome to Thrivalism Interaction's podcast focused on the art of thriving, flourishing and evolving under any conditions. This week we've recorded a conversation between Debswana, our head of workplace research and strategy, and Joanna Watchman. Joanna is a bit of a Renaissance woman being founder of Content Comms, a communication agency which uses content to help carbon conscious businesses connect with customers and also work in mind an organization dedicated to creating better, healthier buildings that support physical and mental health. She's also a fellow at the Royal Society of Arts Manufactures and Commerce, an organization that's operated at the forefront, a significant social impact for nearly 20 years. All of that might give you a clue that Joanna is passionate about the built environment and its impact on our lives with a lot of strong opinions and clear ideas about what we should be focusing on right now. If we want to create workspaces in which we can all thrive is a great conversation. And I really hope you enjoy it.


Deborah Wilder: Thanks very much for joining us today.


Joanna Watchman: You're very welcome. You're very welcome.


Deborah Wilder: you've spent 25 years thinking about the impact our environment has on well-being and lifestyle. What was it that first got you interested? Well, I think area yeah.


Joanna Watchman: I mean, it's a really good topic, is there? So sustainability, I think has only been a thing really for probably 15 of those 20 years. And I think all of that time ago when I kind of started, the really big thing was how do you make more of stuff? And then it became, how do you make more stuff efficiently? Then it became, how do you use technology to to look at human impacts and point at which that can. Big thing for me was looking at smart home technology and how to use lighting, building controls, all those things in homes to kind of, you know, really deliver on human human goals, human human benefits. And out of that, I guess the whole kind of well-being thing has just just grown and grown and grown. And I think it's now it's part of, you know, sustainability is not just about energy and environment is about people, isn't it? Yeah. And the whole thing finally kind of fits together. So it's a bit of a long answer. But there's something in there for,


Deborah Wilder: You know, the long answers are great. So how have you seen conversations changed in that time period?


Joanna Watchman:  Well, I think that people didn't enter into the conversation in my world. And I come from a technology world. You know, my background is technology marketing, which you may or may not know. And, you know, all that time ago, nobody was interested in people. So you might you might run a factory or you might run a building and you might think about how you do that efficiently or how you monitor the systems in the way it runs. Nobody would think about how that that impacts on the P word. You know, the people work. So I think there is no doubt that people now are at the center of everything, whether you're running a factory, making bricks. And I'm the kind that does that in my day job, or whether you're running a building, you know how people interact in that building, how they use the building, how they use space, how they use technology, how technology affects them, why they're doing it. So it's not just about energy, it's not just about efficiency, and it's about people and performance and productivity, I think.


Deborah Wilder: Yeah, I know we're only a few minutes in, but how has the pandemic changed that or how will it change?


Joanna Watchman: I mean, you know, I think that this is a lot of people a lot of people tell me that this the pandemic is just accelerated stuff that was already happening. That's fine. I think that's a very anodyne response. My view is that it will radically shift how we see buildings. And I know that this isn't necessarily an interaction thing, but I think together, you know, we have a vested interest in buildings kind of running well, don't we? How do we know the buildings are safe to be? Do you know how do I know it?


Deborah Wilder: : I don't know. We make assumptions about these things, don't make


Joanna Watchman:  Assumptions, and I don't think that's OK. And I read a really good article the other day, which was it was a scientific paper in the journal Science, which you probably would know. Yeah. And it was written by 39 academics and engineers and scientists, lots of them. They all over the world, lot of mistakes. And it was looking at air quality in buildings, Okata, indoor air quality. And it made the point which was really valuable. If you have a building and you are in charge of building services, you look at water, don't you? So you run your hot flush through so you don't get the on stuff like why is nobody testing ways of looking at buildings from that perspective? Because er impacts on our health, productivity, cognition. If CO2 levels are too high, none of us can concentrate. I mean, you know, why is nobody looked at us so least the pandemic. If you going to look at silver linings, the pandemic will deliver I think much more kind of scrutiny of how buildings are run and operated. And I think from a design perspective, which is far more kind of, I guess where, you know, you and your colleagues are interested, it's going to I think it will allow us to rethink how we use buildings. I think my concern, if I'm being provocative and you can challenge me on, go for it. All right. Is that I worry that there's too much emphasis on how buildings are laid out in terms of design.

  So, you know, less density that I would call it slightly soft stuff. But but we have buildings that are operated and run inadequately in some cases. And I think that there has to be confidence that that those things kind of work together. I mean, you will be aware of them and some of the people listening will. But things like the. Buildings, people have got their health and safety rating, which is effectively like, you know, like an epic or Deakes E if you rate your building, you know, you so define a building for safety. That would be like a mark of confidence. I mean, I just think transparency and confidence, public confidence is going to skyrocket. And I put together some editorial the other day forwork in mind where I really kind of challenged the readers to ask more questions, ask more questions of people that run your buildings, ask more questions and people that own your buildings, because public health is is is at risk. But I think, as I say with with with kind of the design side of it, I think it's going to result in some really interesting shifts. But I think that the market tell me whether or not I agree with it's another matter. The market tell me that these were things that were already happening, already happening in the hybrid working model. Well, you know, does it work? I don't know. You tell me.


Deborah Wilder: That's just such a massive area of focus for us at the moment. Now, I'm just thinking about the the well, you mentioned building and and definitely air quality is you know, there's a there's a big focus on that in there. And we're working with a few clients on helping them achieve that accreditation. Do you think that something about it being invisible, so air quality, we're not focusing on you know, it's not tangible. It's not visible. So we say to our clients, focus on the fundamentals, on the basics first. So our light thermal comfort, but they're not easy wins for a lot of clients.


Joanna Watchman: Don't you think that in life all the things we can't see are the things that are easy to forget about an hour or so mental health, you can't see it, so nobody knows that it exists. You know, somebody in the mental health issue looks the same as anybody else. So we we don't look at it. And I think the same is true. As you say, we're there specifically. To me, it's it's absolutely the fundamental building, block, pillar, whatever annoying word you want to put in there to kind of good workplace performance. And you've made a point that was actually echoed in this science journal paper that I read, which is we don't see it, so we don't think it's important. Well, is it unacceptable? And the thing that, you know, worries me really and this may not be music to the ears of some people listening, is that I think that the Americans actually have got this sewn up. You know, they are looking at this as a very clever guy called a professor, but she's a doctor, a doctor. Dr. Joseph Allen at Harvard Medical School, the public health school, rather. And, you know, he is looking at this and he he is a very strong voice in the American market. But they they are talking about this and they're trying to kind of I think what's really important is that the British market and people in your world and the design world fit our world, the architects, the interior space people, they all of you kind of come together in a holistic way and I think really absorb what's happening on all sides of the of the spectrum. I think the supply chain doesn't talk to each other sufficiently. So and it should. And the reason that I kind of created work in mind, which is is another story, if you like. But but one of the things I wanted to do was to make sure that all those disparate bits of the supply chain actually had a conversation. You know, people in your world should understand the challenges of the building services people or the building investors. And, you know, and the directors need to understand what's happening and what's possible from your side. And I think unit that together, you get better outcomes, don't you? Yeah, but you can't do that if you don't talk. You know, you can't do it if you don't speak and understand.


Deborah Wilder:  No, that's interesting. You I mean, you started off talking about people and the well building certification and approach is amazing. And we've got to we have got to focus on those things. But you also mentioned, you know, you've mentioned hybrid working. I'm wondering how they're going to fit in so well building. It's very much about the practical side. Yeah. Along side, maybe we've got this this these efforts being made to introduce and think about wellbeing in our in our buildings. But alongside that, everybody's introducing hybrid working. And we need to think about the psychological safety and the well-being of those people as well. So I wonder how that's going to work well together.


Joanna Watchman: It's such a good question that so intelligent. I'm just thinking, how do I answer that? You know, it's yeah, I agree. And I think you've got this this thing around home working, haven't you? And how old is the home? As the workplace and the work space impact and how do we know that that's safe and I think the psychological factors are enormous. I think there's there's the cycler for me which may or may not be answering your question. And I apologize. But, you know, I think for me, there's the psychological thing about how we feel when we're in a building. So I would say like a good example is if I go into a Chinese restaurant, they always have and there's always the lights are on and often very bright. I can't stand eating a bright line. You know, you want that mood. Don't you want that for me? You know, if you go into another space and you might feel more positive, more cozy if it was lit differently, colored differently. And I was thinking about this. I did a webinar with a bunch of designers and specializing in high end hotel projects about a year ago. And it was on kind of the curative power of color, which is great. Right, to what we were doing was we were talking about how does color make you feel differently? And, of course, has various things going on here on it is about how do you feel? And that's what's the truth.


Deborah Wilder: Yeah.


Joanna Watchman: So there's perceived and then there's reality, isn't there? So if we're in spaces that you people like yourselves are involved with and designing there, how do we how can we affect, I suppose is that the right word, the psychology of that response to a space? How do you do that? You know, do you do that with color? Do you do it with having a certificate on the wall that says this is safe? I don't know. I don't have all the answers, but somebody needs to have some of these answers. And I think we also, as you say, that the sort of the impacts I think that the the real pandemic, I think is just wear on, you know, the mental health element of this. And I think the people don't people don't talk about actually really how they're feeling about all this. And I and I and I make a point with my own colleagues and clients and teammates in asking, you know, really, how do you feel about being back in a work space? How do you really feel? And you look at their eyes and you follow them around. What are they looking at? They're looking at the windows, looking to see if there's a certificate on the wall saying this is this is okay to be in what what are they doing? And I think, you know, that's got to be more people like you with your sort of background and the sort of the people in your world who really spend time on helping to really think about the bolstering of a sense of safety and security and an environment.


Deborah Wilder: You know, if you if you want to make you feel safe and cocooned, surely there are things that design can do with that. Absolutely. And I think that's where the color thing kind of came in. And I think that wider than that, you know, we have to look at the other spaces. You know, how do we how do we kind of make that make, you know, encourage people to make their homes feel like, you know, safe spaces to work in, you know, and what to save me? Because it's not just about being safe with air. And, you know, when the right chair, you know, as I sort of slump in this one. But it's it's about it's about, you know, am I getting the right space? Is it and space in between the things that I'm thinking about or space in between meetings. So there's psychological factors, I guess you kind of academics would call it. And then there's there's the other stuff, isn't there? So, you know, I, I don't know. I think it's a really big it's a big thing, but I'm hearing lots of talk. I don't know what feedback you get, but that the hybrid working model is having, you know, is not necessarily having the impact that people thought it was going to in a positive way.



Joanna Watchman: Yeah, I guess it is. And I don't know whether we're just in a sort of a phase where, you know, it's just the emperor's new clothes. Might be might Mitnik. Things are cyclical and you're you're the expert. I'm just I'm just the curator in that regard. But, you know, you tell me, you know, do you do these things, do these workplace patterns just go round in circles and trends?


Deborah Wilder: Well, I mean, businesses are just getting back to workplace or just starting to get back. And I think that they'll have a settling in period. There's a lot of anxiety. We interview a lot of of clients and key stakeholders and there's a lot of anxiety amongst people about getting back. There's also resentment, things like resentment about working from home.


Joanna Watchman: And you have a little present. Yeah. I mean, to stop that you.


Deborah Wilder: : No, it was some of them resent having to stop it and some of them resent having to continue with it as well. So yeah, there's yeah I yeah. I think we're on the cusp of a new social change pandemic.


Joanna Watchman: Yeah. And I think we have to really watch out for that, and I think my concern is that, you know, our companies and their armed forces, are they equipped? I don't mean this in a derogatory way to anybody listening, but are they equipped to to spot that? Do we have the skills? Do we know what to do to look out for. And do we know how to do things which may support that and how people are really feeling about space? And, you know, do we give people the flexibility to to change their mind? You know, if they decided actually they've come back to work on a two day week, you know, in the in the workplace and actually rather switch to find. Do we have the space? Have we reduced density ratios? And we can't we can't. We can't go back. I don't


Deborah Wilder:  I mean, everybody wants flexibility at the moment because there's so much uncertainty. Interesting with you just getting back to well, build on their new version. And I don't know whether this was planned ahead of pandemic or not, but they've got a new section in their own community, which is really important. And I'm really you know, I'm I'm pleased to see that because that isn't that is going beyond the practical side and the build side and is thinking more about bringing people together.


Joanna Watchman:  I think it's a really good point. I mean, generally, I mean, I you know, I mean, I make no bones about it. I think it's a it's a very effective and very strong standard. And I think for those that can't afford to go down the well route, you know what? There is this thing people call the spirit of. Well, which I also applaud. But yes, I mean, again, it goes back to your first question. And our first discussion is now you're putting people into the heart of everything. I think it's a very thoughtful standard because actually, with all the different facets of it, there are the user base that it doesn't it doesn't cover. And obviously there are other there are other standards out there. It's not it's not the only the only one. But it's certainly it is I think it is now a sort of a it is a it is a sort of de facto aspiration on many, many projects, isn't it.


Deborah Wilder: I mean, for those businesses that can't afford that or it is quite expensive not just for the initial outlay, but for the ongoing costs as well. What do you are you aware of any it's as good as alternatives that might be slightly less onerous.


Joanna Watchman: Well, a good question, really, and one that my answer probably be utterly inadequate on. But I don't know if I'm honest what what things cost. And there's usually a dollar per square meter basis. But my my view is and having spoken to a lot of architects in particular for work in mind when we're doing project related content, is that some of them are following this idea of spirit of well, which I mentioned just a minute ago. And that takes the principles. It takes the sort of the similar shared objectives. And it does what they're able to do where where things fail. Okay. And he will love this one is that if I when I talk to two practices, if I say what post occupancy evaluation was undertaken, you know, there's just, you know, computers at no sort of thing. You know, it just there's this enormous drop in it. It's always because somebody won't pay for it. There's this real excitement around either pursuing something like, well, spiritually and then how do we measure it? How do we know it's worked? How do we know that it's it's valuable?


Deborah Wilder: Do you think they don't want to see the results? We do get this as well. We get so we engage in quite in-depth workplace research studies before we design and build a project. And then we have encountered clients being hesitant about doing post occupation evaluation. Just on a broader level, sometimes we feel that they don't want to they don't want to see those results. They're concerned about them.


Joanna Watchman: Well, I you you would know what it's like on the coal face. I know what it's like when I start asking questions and the answer that I invariably get doesn't matter where I am, you know, can I have the numbers, please? Is the client wouldn't pay for it. And it's always and then you push a little harder. Why wouldn't they pay for it? Well, they run out of money. So, you know, what do you say to that? There's nothing it's a bit like saying, well, we've just had an extension done at the back of the house. We couldn't afford do the patio or great. That's rubbish now. So, you know, I just I just think there's these things, aren't there, which should be fundamental. And, you know, KPIs and measurement is in everything. You know, I have to do it for my my day job. You know, I don't know why that isn't a fundamental element of these these projects. Do I get a lot of stuff sent to us for work in mind from architects primarily? Yeah. Who will tell me, you know, lots of lovely PR babble and fluff about their superb project. And they will tell me all the same language. Oh, it was delivered with, you know, well-being, aspirations, objectives in mind.


Deborah Wilder: OK, well, let's just push on that so I can ask you some questions. Now, Mr. Architect was architect. And, you know, I ask for the numbers and they can never tell me anything other than some anecdotal evidence what the impact was. So how do we ever how do we keep how do we make more of these great buildings if we if we can't put the numbers in place? Yeah, I think, you know, where it could get really interesting is if you were to talk maybe to H.R. teams, what's your staff turnover been in your workspace? I mean, I read some research that said that I think Oxford University calculated a 30000 quit her head cost associated with somebody leaving the business a business and having to re recruit. Now, that's an average cost. I mean, of course, you've got high flying jet setters. It's going to be a bigger number, isn't it? Yeah, but you start to escalate that in a business. And if your staff turnover rubbish because you are ghastly place to to work, you know, unpleasant culture, you know, that heightened the model of work. He doesn't work. You know, these are big numbers on the job for any business, actually. So maybe maybe some of the data, maybe some of that is sitting in H.R.


Joanna Watchman:  I'm a great fan of talking to H.R. professionals, actually. An interesting with work in mind. One of the things that we've done, if you look on it, dear listeners, is, is you can see we've actually organized the content so that it sits under you know, you can browse by roll and we've set aside some of the content. So it is specifically relevant to the professionals because, you know, they are fundamental in all of this. You know, they hold the data. It's their job to ensure a happy workforce is net. They they need to be kind of totally integrated with other functions in the business and the building side so that this kind of holistically works together. You know, I would argue that this whole kind of wellbeing thing, healthy building thing, the magazines and the media and the channels that should be pushing this more lending should be things like H.R. Director or training journal or, you know, people in Performance magazine, whatever. You know, that that is absolutely fundamental to this, really. And they should talk to the architects as to people like yourselves interact. You know, that's the those are the conversations that should be at the heart of this.


Deborah Wilder: Really what this is leading me to think about one of my sort of passionate things, chief workplace officer. Yeah. And actually with bringing in sort of thinking about, well, buildings, well being the people, the workplace, this was something that was suggested a few years ago. And I've been a bit disappointed in a way that people haven't grabbed this, because when when we think about the workplace, it's sort of from a facilities point of view or from an attraction and retention point of view. But it's not thought about from the whole, you know, and holistic angle. And HRR is really important in that.


Joanna Watchman:  Yeah, I think that's a really good point. And I think occasionally, don't you sort of see very what I would call the glamorous end of the job market will have I mean, occasional LinkedIn. I'm sure you see them, but, you know, you get you see those jobs coming, but they should be everywhere. It should absolutely be a thing of my argument, because I realize I'm in a slightly more kind of geeky interests in terms of buildings and maybe you would come from. But together, you know, I mean, I think that, you know, the a facilities manager has more impact on your personal health than your GP. How bad is that? So you know that facilities manager should be in conversation regularly with the HRT or the wellbeing officer or the chief exec, whatever, you know, or the or the architecture has been brought in to, you know, to deliver on an extension, whatever. Those things should kind of come together. And absolutely. I totally agree with you about that. You know, the job title, I think it's it's interesting. A few years ago, you know, you had things like sort of, you know, sustainability directors. And it's a very wishy washy thing. Nobody really knew what they did. They never had any budget. It was one of those functions that was very ill defined. So maybe maybe what we need is maybe you need to do a big campaign debt. Maybe, you know, you need to write a paper on that. Well, we'll cover that for you.


Deborah Wilder: Yeah, good. Thank you, Adam. So you've just launched a new website which is offering support for businesses for thinking about healthy buildings. I've got a quote from it. The environments we live and working can have as much influence. On our health and well-being as our doctors and lifestyle choices now, I love this because you're really putting it out there. Can you give us an example of how an unhealthy working environment could affect our health just as much as smoking or maybe some timely advice from which.


Joanna Watchman:  I mean I mean, can I take you back to I would like to tell you and anybody who's still bothering to listen to to me at this point, but I'd like to tell you why I set up work in the first place. And I think you might know this, but but let's hope somebody out there doesn't. So about three years ago, my father had a very late at night on a weekend night, had three TIA strikes, and I was the nominee to person to go with my father to Swindon Hospital there. I said it to the accident emergency room and whatever you call an E.R., if you're in America listening to to be with dad. And we were there for 14 hours in that environment. And it was at that point on a very dark, that very dark, very grim night that I was looking around at everything in that space and wondering why the staff in that space looked as bad as the patients. And I didn't I came to the conclusion that they were not just overworked. Yes, it was a busy night. I get that they're under immense pressure. It's a very difficult world. But looking at the way that that building, which is a fairly modern hospital, PFI built certainly in the last 20 something years, it was absolutely beggared belief how that space was designed and the lighting, the acoustics, the stress levels. And it was very interesting just looking at the physical presence of those staff, not you. They looked tired, they looked bodily tired.

They didn't look in great condition. This was a night shift and about four, five, six times. Now, my father, who was not in any way doolally, I have to tell you, but he asked me, what time is it and why did he ask me? What time was it? Because he couldn't tell. There was no natural light. There was no natural kind of an eye. And I just thought to myself there and then I have to do something else. That's one work in mind existed a few months later. I created it because I wanted something which would mean that designers, hospitals, for example, might talk to, you know, people who really understood circadian lighting or better spatial design or acoustics or stress levels and how that impacts performance. All those things come together because space is like that, in my view, in a work environment should not exist. They shouldn't exist. Shouldn't be OK for that to happen. No. And it must be all over that. Well, we know it's all over the place. I think what worries me is that, you know, and don't take it the wrong way, but, you know, come to a world where you get to work people with corporates and big companies and workplaces. What about everybody else? What about everybody else? It doesn't work in that world. What about hospitals where it's too noisy to concentrate? What about schools where staff have appalling lighting to work within? That actually causes glare concentration issues. The kids kick off that causes more stress. What about what

 It was at the beginning of a pandemic. I don't know whether anybody remembers. It was a bit of a rant on the radio from somebody called Dr Jack Kevorkian. And he was it was amazing. It had me in tears. It was he was talking about the we don't want claps. We want somewhere. We don't want people standing on the street at 8pm on a Thursday evening clapping. We want somewhere to have a break. Yeah. We want some decent working conditions. And that they didn't have this. And it is such a pity. And it's something that, you know, we are very aware of. Why is it just office workers that we are trying to support?

And I cannot tell you how difficult it is for me to get stuck on to work in mine for any other sector other than offices. It's absolutely, you know, beggars belief.


Deborah Wilder: Why is that?


Joanna Watchman: I don't know. Because, you know, every work kind of workplace is has people to it, you know, and you it doesn't matter whether you're back in that factory, whether you're working in construction, whether you work in a hospital. You know, we all deserve spaces that are intune and symbiotic, whatever the right word is, you know, with our with our well-being. We did we did. I tell you, one of the most popular articles we ever ran on work you mind in the early days was about mental wellbeing in the construction sector. And I don't need to tell you the level of suicide, the level of mental health issues in the construction sector is absolutely beyond belief. I don't have the specific numbers to hand, but I can tell you it doesn't take much Googling and it will make your stomach leap with horror. We run an article about the use of a color called Baker Miller Pink, if you ever come across it. No. Yeah, so look it up. So Baker, Miller Pink. And it is a particular tone of pink paint. Believe it or not, I think it was something like funding to the construction company. We'll come back to that is on work in mine, guys. Go find it. But it's basically a construction company used this particular color pink in the restroom areas. They sort of like the sort of the breakout rooms.


Deborah Wilder:  Another name I think they use to bring down the stress reactions. Those what they called parasympathetic is all a clever one. I'm not analyzing the system stress responses for those guys and gals, mostly guys today at lunch times, at rest areas. And there was, whilst they might have looked, go to pink room Lincoln sitting in there. But actually it was bringing their responses down. It was measured and it's a very well known thing. And that got phenomenal interest through work in mind. But we've also we did we have covered quite a bit of stuff on on hospitals and on nurses in particular. And how do you deliver better spaces for nurses, for those kind of breakout areas, that kind of thing? So I think it's it's imperative and I'd say if anybody's out there listening, who can offer me some thinking on that? How do we you know, how do we make sure that all kinds of workplaces are covered? It is not okay that just because you work in an office that you're looked after, it's just not OK. So I'm I'm a big fan. I've got a background in my past life in sort of industrial technology marketing. So I've spent a lot of my life in factories. And, you know, it's people who work in those environments deserve better quite often.
We've we've been thinking about. So the logistics industry is expanding rapidly as well. And we've been thinking about their working conditions that viscounts lighting.


Joanna Watchman: That is a massive thing in warehousing and logistics. Huge. Huge has an enormous impact. Lighting is massively mis understood, massively underrepresented as a topic and in I'm sorry, I was totally cutting across you, but but the UK warehouse and sector to just sector one of those real big drivers for wellbeing change is actually better lights, you know, those dreadful, you know, inefficient sodium lamps and fluorescent lamps. They're disgusting human health actually.


Deborah Wilder: Yeah, interesting. The one in lighting. So we've worked with clients across a lot of industries, but its offices. And it's one of the things that, as I've said earlier, we try and get them to think about the basics. First of all, light and air and space. It's one of those things that it needs a bit more investment. And when we actually get to the costing of it, then quite a lot of businesses just don't want to go there. What can what can we say to.


Joanna Watchman:  Easy, easy, easy. It's all about well, if they won't pay for it because of people, they'll pay for it because of carbon. So er led lighting will deliver us of 75 percent saving on a traditional incandescent lamp for example. Okay. So, you know, I think we, you know, this is my marketing hat on, but you know, you just have to find the thing that kicks, clicks that really carbon and net zero journeys are the thing that are driving every business right now. We could do an entire podcast about that on the next week. So that's the thing that's really driving agendas. And it's a cost thing as well. And it's about reputation and what have you. So, you know, I would say that most if you look at just about every building service thing, you know, tech that you could put into a space, okay, there will be. And that's really takes us right back to the beginning of our conversation. There will be a human benefit that is relatable to that sustainability investment. So better aircon, more efficient aircon. Guess what? We could get some better performance in room, you know, with lower CO2 concentrations, whatever led lighting, really good efficient lighting. Well, design lighting, we're going to get a cost benefit, a carbon benefit. And guess what, people would know headache's better performance. What do you see. What I mean. So you, you find, you find the thing.


Deborah Wilder: Yeah. I mean you sound easy. Yeah. No, I mean in in health psychology we think about time. Perspective is a really important one. So and I think maybe that is something that we can apply with our clients and to and to encourage businesses to. So time perspective. So the idea. It's about gains and losses and tangible benefits. So it seems like when we are saying to clients, will you need to do this because of this, they if that benefit is too far off, then they're not going to bother doing it. Whereas if there's some instant benefit, it's a bit like putting in solar panels and you're told that over 20 years you might recoup your money. Now, 20 years for a lot of people is just too long, whereas if you told them within a year, you could we you could get back your 20000 pounds, then they're much more likely to go for it.


Joanna Watchman: : Well, I think what's really interesting about that is that in the in the sustainability world and sustainable buildings world, if if you look at things like lighting aircon, more efficient ways, running your building, anybody who has an ROIC return on investment of more than 18 months, two years, possibly two and a half, they get absolute there is no chance of selling whatever it is you're trying to sell that building owner, a building manager, because nobody wants to commit to anything that's not delivering on that return on investment quickly. And I think what's interesting is that when we're looking at people and things that would benefit people, yeah, we have to somehow find what goes back to a concept that data, doesn't it? We need we need to be able to show the ROIC the proof more swiftly. And I think somebody somewhere needs to do some work on the math, basically. Yeah. No good at math. Don't get.


Deborah Wilder:  Yeah. Maybe it's all about the numbers. So this is your great Attenberg moment. What do you say to businesses in that really, you know, in that all encompassing statement that everybody remembers?


Joanna Watchman: Well, thanks for that. And this is the bit it's going to get edited heavily and because it'll get the ums and the ahs, I think my my big thing really is very simple is to think holistically about everything that happens in the buildings and the spaces in which you expect people to operate and work and wherever those might be, and probably to get a piece of A4 paper and to draw out all the things on that piece of paper that that influence and have an opportunity to influence. Ah, well, being mental and physical. And just just look at that picture and see how it knits together. And I think you'll be very surprised. I don't think it's all about spending crazy money. I really don't. I think it's about being sensible. I'm a very pragmatic person. I just think you need to apply the time and you need to have an open mind. An open mind. There you go. Yeah that sounds right. Yeah.


Deborah Wilder:  Ok, thank you. And let's go back to health psychology, because that's my thing in health psychology quite broadly, we talk about quality of life as we start. We can apply that to work. There's this concept called quality of work life. Have you heard of that? Do you think that makes sense to think about it in academic terms?


Joanna Watchman:  Well, I don't know, really. That's that's so intelligent. I'm struggling with that one. I think that, you know, for me, it's more about a more holistic approach. I'd rather people looked at quality of life in general and then thought about the things that might improve that quality in a more holistic way. I'm not sure that I like the idea of a separate thing for work. I just don't it doesn't really kind of knit together with me. What's your view?


Deborah Wilder: : And I agree in a way, and I think that so so this was something that was developed maybe sort of I think I have first heard of it a few years ago. But now with the whole concept of work, life balance has been thrown up in the air, hasn't it? Some people say that since being able to work from home, they've got a much better work life balance. However, in my view, we're not there now, totally merged. And in which case the other quality of work life doesn't make much sense is just quality of work.


Joanna Watchman:  I think this whole blended thing is really problematic. And I mean, I suppose it's very actually what I should probably be saying is it's we're all individuals and we all have individual responses to how we feel about it. For me personally, I have had to come to terms with the fact that whilst I thought I had a maverick personality and was at a sort of slightly creative personality, I clearly I'm the most boring person in the world who actually likes going to an office and driving home and then, you know, talking to my loved ones about what kind of day I've had and who I spoke to, what flavor, a sandwich I eat, that those little boring things actually were very important for me. And I didn't know that. I didn't know that. And, you know, it's funny, I was in the car going somewhere this week and it made me realize how necessary that space of being able to just sounds terrible, you know, but to zone out. You know, to be able to have space in between interactions and conversations and meetings and emails and things, and maybe we're just chucking ourselves into everything we're saying yes to everything, I think so many of us are on who I am. You're knackered. You're mentally knackered. I don't know about how you feel about it, but that blend of just not getting that separation for me, it's dreadful. And I was very you know, I've had to I've had to make sure that I was able to come back into my main office, you know, safely, I hasten to add. But for others, probably, probably different, I think, where all these things get really difficult and you are the expert on this, not me, is about having a ones. You can't have a one size fits all approach to any of this. Can you know, for an employer, that's a nightmare.


Deborah Wilder:  Yeah. I mean, we've really entered into the era of the individual and we have you know, there are so many opposing views. People love working from home. People hate working from home. People feel that they've got good work life balance. Some people feel that they've got no balance at all because they don't have those boundaries and they don't have that break. Yeah, fascinating times. So if we do this podcast in 25 years, I should be retired. But yeah, if we were to do redo this podcast in 25 years, what would we be talking about?


Joanna Watchman: Probably my pension and know my retirement home, what we'd be talking about. Gosh. Of the future Skåne. I sincerely hope we're not talking about the same stuff. That's for that's for a start. I don't know. I just, I just I am so concerned about the now that I can't even imagine what that future looks like. I mean, how did it how was it? You know, I suppose we were all plodding around wearing bowler hats, won't we, you know, sort of 40, 50 years ago or you know, I don't I don't know. I don't I don't know how to answer that in a way that's suitably intelligent, except to say that I suspect that a lot of the same things will still exist. Where I hope that there are massive shifts and improvements is around the way that we think about buildings in a more holistic way, in a people centric way. Yeah, and I sincerely hope that we can feel safe in our buildings and our built environments and that all that is in is in place and that we never want again. You know, if there's another pandemic, for example, that we never again feel that we are vulnerable in the spaces that we are expected to be in, I find that, you know, deeply worrying. If I'm honest, I think it will hold back, you know, productivity and progress unless we resolve those neuroses and anxieties. So, yeah, I'm not sure that answers your question, but it gives you a start.


Deborah Wilder: : No, no, it does. And maybe it doesn't seem right to think about the future when we've still got so much to do here. We can't move on until we've we've sorted things out, first of all.


Joanna Watchman: I think so. I think we're in a state of flux. And you've already sort of said that. I think it's difficult to see the wood for the trees a little bit at the moment. And I think things need to settle down. Then I guess we see where we where we sail off to, don't we?