Industrial property’s turn for a workforce well-being check
Industrial – Workplace June 2019
Talent retention and increased productivity are included in most business models and there’s been plenty of publicity and commentary around the office sector’s workplace initiatives to create rewarding, healthy and user-friendly environments for office-based workers.
New office buildings complete with end-of-trip facilities, breakout zones for relaxing and socialising, a raft of sustainability-driven features like filters and green walls to improve air quality and state-of-the-art staff amenities are leading the way.
The industrial property sector on the other hand has generally tended to be a more utilitarian and practical working environment with less focus on looks, design and staff facilities and often located well away from community amenities.
There’s a quiet evolution going on however, and new industrial developments around New Zealand are incorporating sustainability and staff-focused initiatives.
A new industrial complex in the UK is also raising the bar with its staff-centric workplace design and it provides an interesting case study.
Baytree Dunstable is north of London in Bedfordshire on the new A5 link road just off the M1 with fast access to all major road, airport and port hubs.
The speculatively-built warehouse complex has the following focus areas:
·Design with flexibility for future change
·Health and well-being of building users
·Clean air, water, soil and energy policies
The developer, Baytree, talks of “disruptive innovation” in relation to design and construction in the industrial sector and its development mantra is to create buildings that “take very good care of the well-being of the people who work in them”.
The next-generation warehouses it’s creating will have sustainability front of mind at all stages of the process and cost-efficiencies for tenants at its heart.
The specs include:
·Super air-tight and insulated building envelope
·Solar powerpacks to store electricity and reduce peak rate charges
·Energy monitoring system with ‘smart meters’
·LED office lighting with automatic movement and daylight controls
·LED lighting to external yard areas and doors
·Roof lights providing natural daylight – reducing cost of lighting the warehouses
·Air source heat pumps that extract heat from the air outside to power equipment inside
·Electric car charging points
·Open plan offices with high-spec fit-out and exposed services, raised access floors, carpet, comfort cooling, and shower facilities
·An energy monitoring system, complete with smart meters, to track usage and turns lights or heating off when part of the building is unoccupied
Staff well-being is encouraged through the provision of a mindful workplace.
There’s a running track and recreation area with outdoor gym equipment, outside seating has inbuilt solar-powered charging points for smartphones, and there’s even land set aside for communal gardens so workers can grow and harvest produce.
According to the developers, these types of initiatives are not cost-prohibitive.
If you are considering a purpose-built industrial premises for your business and are looking to enter into negotiations with a developer either independently or through a Bayleys’ agent, have the sustainability conversation.
Also think about how you can create an enviable workplace that encourages staff attraction and retention and which in turn increases productivity and staff satisfaction levels.
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