8th June 2020
At Gazeley we put people at the heart of everything we do and that means listening to our customers.
They want to attract and retain the best talent and part of the solution to that challenge is to ensure they provide a positive and pleasant workspace.
That’s why our logistics centres are WELL-ready making it easier for occupiers to achieve full certification for employee health and wellbeing.
We believe it is vital to nurture “wellness” – but it is also a response to genuine customer demand.
Our industry hasn’t always been like this, however.
Think of a traditional warehouse and what do you see? Many people would picture a draughty building, with battered forklift trucks and a burger van parked outside.
Sadly, that was often true. But a new generation of warehouses is evolving all over Europe.
We are championing a move from bleak industrial estates to high-tech, award-winning logistics parks, built with environmentally-friendly materials. Landscaped to blend with their surroundings, they boost mood and morale.
WHAT DOES WELL READY MEAN?
The WELL Building Standard is a performance-based system to analyse the impact of buildings on the wellbeing of people using them. These measures address occupant health and channel resources towards improving it, often resulting in return on investment for occupier and owner.
To make a building WELL-ready, developers and occupiers must scrutinise various categories:
AIR: They should monitor and mitigate against indoor air pollution, prioritising materials with low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) content to minimise detrimental health effects. They should design “healthy entrances” to protect indoor air quality from outdoor pollutants.
WATER: They should strive for high quality water and improved accessibility.
NOURISHMENT: Unhealthy food should be limited and better food culture promoted.
LIGHT: Lighting systems should enhance the work experience, reduce glare, encourage alertness and promote healthy sleep.
FITNESS: An increase in daily exercise and fitness should be encouraged. This could mean in-house gyms . . . or using stairs.
COMFORT: WELL-ready buildings create distraction-free, productive and comfortable environments.
MIND: Cognitive and emotional health must be optimised through design, technology and treatment strategies, for example, incorporating nature into buildings with plant walls and water features.
INNOVATION: Occupiers must encourage project teams to submit ideas under WELL concepts.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN PRACTICE?
Let’s look at two Gazeley case studies.
In 2018 Altitude, Magna Park Milton Keynes became the world’s first WELL-accredited logistics building.
Why is that important? Because unlike other certification, it is only granted after the built-environment has been assessed in operation. And it’s an evidence-based system that was developed to analyse standards in offices.
In addition, 92 per cent of people using WELL-certified buildings say they feel benefits to their health and wellbeing and 94 per cent report the environment boosts their performance.
That last finding helps prove the business case for better buildings. For example, roof openings optimising natural light are good for staff but can also save 13 per cent on annual bills.
But our work doesn’t stop inside. We have installed 20 electric car charging points with potential for another 60, an onsite apiary supporting biodiversity, an insect hotel created by local schools, landscaping and nature walks.
It’s all part of Gazeley’s holistic approach.
Here’s how it can work. Natural daylight from ecologically-responsible design, fosters wellbeing. If we also fit thermally-efficient wall and roof cladding, for example, we make warmer warehouses.
That appealing environment means our customers have happier, more productive teams, who have extra time to engage in the local community . . . which promotes fitness . . . and so on.
At our visionary development Magna Park Lutterworth, we created a 173-acre public park, planted 1 million trees and provided facilities such as bike stores.
Community projects at Magna Park Lutterworth include:
• Magna Park Community Radio – working with Cross Counties Radio to promote local activities
• Community Liaison Group Forum – providing information on development proposals and operations
• Magna Park Community Open Day – we host an annual Fun Day attracting, on average, over 1,500 people
• Magna Park Community Fund – founded in 2013, it has donated more than £60,000 to local projects.
We believe one measure of success should be how well we look after people – those working for us, with us and those in whose communities we operate. We want to be a good neighbour.
“The wellbeing of our people is a priority,” says HR director Haidée Klein. “We measure this through our employee engagement survey to ensure we promote a wellbeing culture throughout our business.”
Gazeley wants and end to windowless, gloomy staff rooms and believes initiatives such as roof terraces for breaks and running tracks through local woods ensure its customers become best-in-class employers.
Graeme Munro, Head of Construction Europe, has seen a shift of emphasis among our customers towards more healthy, safer and balanced lifestyles for workers.
“Companies no longer require the big Head Office which existed in the past,” he says. “That’s being decentralised at logistics centres. They are becoming a hub for e-commerce and people. That affects a building’s aesthetics and its fit-out. What’s interesting is the finish and detail some customers require. In the H&M warehouse I was involved with at Milton Keynes, there’s a hotel standard kitchen to deal with the volume of people. These big warehouses require 1,000 to 1,500 people to operate so there is an upscaling of the workforce. It’s a younger generation and people being retrained in computers and artificial intelligence.”
“Clients are creating e-commerce centres with a lot of tech in them but what is interesting is the attention paid to employees’ wellbeing. Lutterworth is a prime example of that, where we have to do more now in terms of the park and the employees. We must recognise as a business, the amount of people working on that park. I visited China and Japan. And multi-storey warehousing is daily business there. It was phenomenal to see nurseries, dentists, and a general store in a warehouse. A sign of things to come, perhaps. We suspect, though, you’ll still be able to get a burger sometimes . . .”