Finally after a long and difficult two years in lockdown over the Covid pandemic, changes are finally taking place. Based on the trajectory of the pandemic and the levels of vaccination in the country, the South Africa Cabinet recently decided to make the changes to Adjusted Alert Level 1 and many, if not most people, will return to offices with immediate effect.

With all the prior doom and gloom, there is some silver lining on the dark cloud we were living in. The coronavirus pandemic has bolstered corporate interest in redesigning work spaces to simulate nature, have better air filtration systems and use more sustainable materials.

More companies are embracing biophilic design – the concept of bringing the health benefits of the outdoors inside. Buildings are also adapting to demand for more outdoor work space like terraces, and widespread expectations that employees will be more mobile after the pandemic is contained.

Readers can learn more about the biophilic movement in this edition of +Impact on page 34.

We’re blurring the line between work and home. Your office doesn’t have to be enclosed at your desk anymore and the focus on lowering the carbon footprint of buildings and creating a healthier working space, has been accelerating.

Research shows that offices with artificial lighting, a lack of windows and poor ventilation create more stress for workers and impair decision-making abilities, according to research published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. We cover more on this in our feature on the industrial revolution on page 12 in this edition, where the industrial sector is also changing to more green, resilient industrial buildings for the future.

Working in a room with natural light helps boost productivity and mental health, and employees who are exposed to natural light in offices sleep better because the light improves circadian rhythms, according to research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Zama Zaca, the head of new business development for Tétris South Africa, explains more about how we can implement sustainability in our lives as individuals and organisations on page 40.
The future is indeed looking a lot brighter and all the above examples point to a better place for us as individuals and for the green building industry locally and across the globe.

Enjoy this edition and all the best to you all for 2022 and beyond.

Robbie Stammers