18 Dec 2017 inbusiness

Dubai-based United World Infrastructure highlights key factors of workplace happiness and wellness through urban design at 7th international conference on gross national happiness

During a speech at the recently concluded 7thInternational Conference on Gross National Happiness, held in Thimpu, Bhutan, Washington, D.C. and Dubai-based United World Infrastructure emphasized the value of happiness and the role that can be played by businesses.

Speaking at the conference, Aubrilyn Reeder, Senior Manager, highlighted the work done by United World Infrastructure in the field of happiness for residents and touched upon the organization’s landmark Medini project in Malaysia – first announced in 2008 at Cityscape Dubai – which has generated over 20,000 jobs for local citizens and attracted USD 1.2 billion for land development. She also mentioned measures used by United World Infrastructure to gauge feelings of fulfillment at the personal level, namely: happiness measures, personal wellbeing measures and collective wellbeing measures.

The aim of the conference was to explore ways to create conditions for achieving Gross National Happiness (GNH) in businesses. In addition to presenting concrete policy, frameworks, institutions and measures to promote GNH as a value in companies, the conference was a platform for the assessment of GNH and implementation issues across the business world.

The nation of Bhutan was the first country to effectively transform national happiness from an abstract concept into an actual measurement to drive policy-making. In 2005, the government began crafting a set of measures to chart progress which would be used to guide policy and development decisions.

Since then, Bhutan has emerged as a leader in promoting happiness as a measure of wellbeing and national development. This assumes all the more importance, considering that the UN projects that by 2050 nearly two-thirds of the world’s population will be urban – an increase of 2.4 billion people, with approximately half from rural migration. Building cities for happiness creates catalysts for greater social, economic and environmental sustainability.

“People want to live in cities because they provide opportunities.  For rural migrants and existing urban residents, cities can provide a better future with rising incomes and better access to higher-quality education and healthcare,” said Aubrilyn Reeder, Senior Manager, United World Infrastructure. “Considering the core attraction of cities to offer employment opportunities, and the sacrifices that people make to access these opportunities, creating environments which facilitate access to a diverse range of jobs and training becomes an important objective in designing cities. As investors and developers, we have opportunities to enhance workplace happiness and wellbeing at the city-level, the neighborhood level, the building level, and finally, the actual floor where you work.