In the COVID-19 pandemic, the employee realized the importance of a healthy workplace. A healthy workplace provides natural protection against respiratory disease and reduces exposure to viruses. Therefore, the current COVID-19 pandemic should be a wake-up call to understand the importance of building design and a dress rehearsal for future challenges because building-based prevention and control measures have become one of the most significant ways of fighting against the epidemic. This study investigates the role of hotel building design in employee health and performance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study covered the LEED-certified hotel building in India. The formulated Hypothesis was tested empirically by the structural equation modeling (SEM) for determining the potential of the hotel building design. It was obtained from the study that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the hotel building design of the hospitality industry had a more significant influence on employee performance, followed by employee health.
In India, the hospitality industry was growing faster than the economy and expected 492.21 billion U.S. Dollar contributions in India's GDP in 2028. As of 2019, the hospitality industry created 4.2 crore jobs in India which were 8.1% of total employment in the country. However, this one epidemic has changed the whole scenario. The COVID-19 poses a significant threat to India's travel and tourism industry (Confederation of Indian Industry, 2020, Kaushal and Srivastava, 2021). Due to COVID-19, there is a severe drop in domestic and international travelers. The hospitality industry is currently operating at 10–15% occupancy. As a result, a cumulative drop of 30–50% in income per available room throughout the financial year 2022 and a loss of 14.5 million jobs in the Indian hospitality industry are reported (IANS, 2020, UNWTO, 2020).
The COVID-19 virus can spread readily and cause severe disease to people with existing health problems (Yu et al., 2021, Aguiar-Quintana et al., 2021, Sönmez et al., 2020, Torales et al., 2020, Guan et al., 2020, Guo et al., 2020). COVID-19 affects the individual's mental health (e.g., mental depression and stress) and physical health (e.g., asthma and other respiratory problems). Every country is trying hard to find a treatment for COVID-19, but no one can now succeed. The only source is to find alternative strategies and prevention methods to control the spreading of the virus. As the hospitality sector gradually recovering, the COVID-19 crisis continues to have a profound impact on how hospitality businesses function (Rivera, 2020). The hospitality industry needs to make significant changes to its workplace and operations in the COVID-19 business environment to ensure employee health and performance (Gursoy and Chi, 2020, Yu et al., 2020, Gössling et al., 2020). The hospitality industry is expected to shift its focus to develop healthy and safe building designs to prevent the COVID-19 virus and any other upcoming pandemics for the sustainable growth of the hospitality industry.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives and is offering an opportunity to change how we design our buildings and working spaces. A comfortable and healthy building is an important contributor to mental and physical health. This study presents a need of changes in the sustainability requirements for buildings design that can be proper sanitization system to weaken the possibility of getting infected, new touchless technologies, sufficient spaces for better mental health, proper waste management system, are just a few solutions that can improve health and safety protection in our building.
The building design is a fascinating and emerging concept, but its relationship with employees' health and performance during COVID-19 is not well acknowledged yet in the field of the tourism and hospitality sector. Building designers and architects need to make bold decisions to provide safe and healthy to end-users. Building design is becoming an increasingly important part of making our environment and employee greener and healthier for a better future.