Pioneering ideas for an excellent working environment

Implenia thought long and hard about how to provide employees at its new head office with a really pleasant and healthy working environment. The meticulously designed interior of the building has – for the first time in Switzerland – earned the highest certification under the international WELL standard.

In April 2022, the WELL Building Institute awarded its Platinum Certificate to the interior design of Implenia’s new head office building. This is the first time the international certification body has given its top award to a building in Switzerland, providing further proof that Implenia really has made employee well-being its highest priority. “We are thrilled,” says Bernadette Arbogast, Project Manager for Sustainability at Implenia. “The award marks the achievement of a major goal in terms of health protection and sustainability.”

WELL is based on commonly used American standards and takes account of World Health Organisation guidelines for healthy work environments. Approximately 100 criteria are assessed for certification. These include air purity, ergonomic furniture, low-emission materials, good lighting, opportunities for physical exercise, sound insulation, healthy food and health training.

Implenia moved its headquarters from Dietlikon to Opfikon, a booming business district in the north of Zurich, in September 2021. It’s new home is Ambassador House – a freshly renovated complex which it shares with various other companies. One reason for the move was to provide approximately 650 employees with an attractive, well-equipped workplace that is easily accessible by public transport and that encourages interactions.

“It was important for us to create a modern and flexible working environment in our new location,” explains Bernadette Arbogast. “We wanted to meet the highest standards; this meant sitting down round the table with a lot of stakeholders so we could capture all the different elements that contribute to people’s well-being.” A great deal of work also had to be done to meet the high standards required by WELL, including the installation of electrostatic and activated charcoal filters in the ventilation system to remove odours, particulates and ozone from the air.

The great effort was worth it. “Employees have reacted very positively to the design of the new headquarters,” reports Arbogast, who works there herself. External approval is the icing on the cake: WELL certification requires measurements to be made to ensure targets for a healthy working environment are actually met in practice. The independent testing was successful, paving the way for the award of the highest grade.