Wellness in Construction Summit to take place in Dubai on 28 September

The core focus of the event is an interactive workshop session led by five CEOs, who will assess the findings of a wellness survey launched in the July/August issue of Middle East Consultant

Middle East Consultant has announced that its new Wellness in Construction Summit will take place on 28 September in Dubai. The event will focus on a workshop style agenda that is being developed to enable corporates to understand and deliver effective wellness initiatives.

The summit is well timed as Kisi’s ‘Cities with the Best Work-Life Balance 2022’ report outlined that the top overworked cities were Dubai, Kong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Montevideo in the first, second, third, fourth and fifth spots respectively. In contrast, the cities that ranked the best in terms of work-life balance were all European with Oslo, Bern, Helsinki, Zurich and Copenhagen capturing the first, second, third, fourth and fifth positions respectively.

Arcadis’ Sustainable Cities Index (SCI) which ranks 100 global cities on three different pillars of sustainability also revealed that Oslo, Stockholm, Tokyo, Copenhagen and Berlin ranked in the top five in its ‘Overall’ rankings.

Discussing the importance of wellness in modern workplaces with Paul Godfrey, Head of Content at Middle East Consultant, he notes, “If we take the view that staff are the most important resource that an organisation has, then wellness – and the mechanisms designed to promote it – is very important indeed. Figures from the American Health Association (the body focused on the impact of day-to-sickness on doctors’ time) show that a good wellness programme can reduce absences from work by 17%; can prevent serious escalation of muscular issues by 21%; and can improve attitude and concentration by 18%.”

The topic has gained significant importance in the built environment in recent years, spurred on by a number of drivers including the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Sharing his thoughts on drivers that have led to construction companies setting their sights on improving wellness in the workplace, Godfrey comments, “There are really three factors at stake here: firstly, the growing international focus on movements concerned with mindfulness, spirituality and meditation. These have led to a greater emphasis on integrated health and wellbeing – in other words, ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’. This has inevitably had a ‘trickle-down’ effect wherever there are large numbers of people working – the construction sector being an example.”

“One of the effects of the pandemic was the wholesale impact on mental health for millions of people coping with lockdown. Thus, a greater emphasis on how to correct these imbalances – and how to prevent them from impinging on corporate performance.”

He adds, “Another bi-product of lockdown: frozen markets meant an impact on the bottom line – and companies had to ensure that this was not exacerbated by staff absences and poor working attitudes. Hence, wellness programmes suddenly seem like a great idea.”

With regards to whether or not there’s enough awareness and debate about wellness in the construction sector, Godfrey reckons the topic is still very much nascent. He says, “Currently, it’s very much something that only the premier-league businesses look at and implement. If we were to visit the boards of the second-tier businesses, we might find them talking about wellness, but not doing much about it.”

At the recent Future of Architecture Summit, which was also organised by Middle East Consultant, AECOM’s Amer Mneimneh, VP of Urbanism and Planning gave a presentation on the importance of human centric and wellness-focused urban design.

Pressed about the forthcoming summit’s agenda – which will be free to attend for construction industry professionals – and its core focus, Godfrey outlines, “The core focus of the event is a highly interactive workshop session led by five CEOs, who will assess the findings of a wellness survey launched in the July/August combined issue of Middle East Consultant. Discussions will be extremely interactive and totally open to the audience. The one key issue that will be a thread throughout the summit is proactivity: the idea that wellness is actually the epitome of mental and physical intervention before it’s needed too badly.”

The first draft of the agenda is on the summit’s dedicated website already and will touch on topics including: Managing a wellness programme; Being aware of your obligations; Being a part of the wellness revolution and more.

Godfrey lets slip that two keynote speakers have already been lined up for the event in September. He concludes, We’re looking forward to bringing back Gulneet Chadha, CEO of GC Consulting and a world-renowned wellness influencer with 2.1mn Linkedin followers. She is a certified RT therapist and a licensed hypnotherapist. Gulneet will lead a five-minute meditation session for all summit attendees. Mona Tavassoli, acclaimed international wellness speaker and Founder/CEO of Mompreneurs Worldwide, is also on the agenda for the event.”

In June 2022, CRTKL also announced that wellness and happiness are key for Egyptian workplaces, while real estate brokerage Union Square House (USH) has stated that a quarter of homebuyers in Dubai are on the hunt for living spaces that provide mental health benefits.

Read more about the summit by visiting the Wellness in Construction Summit website.

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