Have you ever worked in an office building with old and grimy bathrooms or showers? Or had to keep your bike at home as there was no place at work to store it? If you have, chances are your workplace was in a commercial property without the contemporary worker in mind.
These days, many active office employees are attracted to workplaces enabling them to commute in an active manner and then comfortably freshen up for their workday.
Many choose to practise physical exercise before, during, and after business hours as a reflection of flexibility in the workplace. Approximately 370,000 Australians walk to their workplace each day. And the lifestyle option of cycling to work is shared by approximately 125,000 Australian workers; a number that has grown 4 per cent annually since 2012.
Modern-minded businesses will have these factors in mind when seeking out an office premise. This is why landlords should ensure their asset reflects a potential tenant’s requirements for good end of trip amenities.
Cyclists will first be thinking of where they will store their bike once they complete their commute to work. This should be a first thought for landlords too when considering workplace amenities.
Ideally, bike storage will be close to or inside the workplace. Cyclists will want to be able to ride in and out with ease, without the hassle of a long walk after an even longer ride.
Many businesses and landlords are investing in on-wall bicycle racks for both convenience and space. A growing number of cyclists each year means it is important for future employees to have ample room to move about after their commute.
With customers and visitors in mind, short stay bicycle facilities may also be of note. This allows them somewhere to conveniently lock up their bike while they visit an office or shop.
Change rooms are essential for both non-vehicle commuters – and those who work with them (as most would find it unpleasant working with sweaty colleagues).
With the growing number of commuters cycling, jogging or walking to work, change rooms should offer a number of showers and toilets for both men and women which are universally accessible. It is incredibly important for these to be modern, maintained and regularly cleaned, so change rooms must be designed in order to allow this to occur efficiently and minimise building outgoings.
The City of Perth has taken the lead and set minimum standards for these end of trip facilities in new CBD office buildings, specifically to encourage more active commuting. At a minimum, a 20-40-person staff requires at least one shower; a premises supporting more than 220 staff requires at least two showers for both genders.
As with bike storage, location is an important attribute for change rooms and should be separate to where business is conducted. After all, most cyclists will dislike the idea of scurrying across an open floor plan in their Lycra.
Lockers and Security
Security is paramount in any working environment. This is especially the case for those who have ridden to work or plan to exercise on their lunch break. Many bikes these days are very expensive items, even built with space-age materials, and so secure storage is a key requirement.
With many employees changing in and out of work clothes, they will need somewhere to hang and store their clothes, valuables and toiletries. Employee theft (particularly in large organisations) can be an unfortunate reality, so providing comfort to workers with stored valuables is an important measure for tenants and landlords.
Bike storage and change rooms should ideally be under surveillance, as well as their entrance/exits, to increase employee safety and comfort.
Water and Vending Machines
Drinking water stations and fountains are simple but effective features to satisfy employees after they dismount their bike or rest their legs. At a very minimum, the water dispensed should be filtered.
Vending machines with snacks – and even toiletries and medical supplies – available for purchase are an easy way to improve both employee satisfaction and tenant appetite for a commercial premises.
Businesses and landlords wanting to exceed the offerings of competitors may be creative (and generous) with their end of trip facilities. Such extravagant amenities may include:
Drying room & laundry
For rainy days and sweaty commuters, drying rooms and laundries allow employees turn their activewear from wet into clean and dry. Dry towels leaves change rooms smelling fresh and clean (not always a trait of change room areas).
Bike repair stand
Basic tools for cyclists to service and repair their bikes is not necessarily uncommon, but certainly an appealing offering.
Specialists may be hired to service and repair bikes during work hours. They may either be mobile mechanics, or actually serve as employees inside the organisation.
Charging station (for electric bikes)
With technology advances growing, electric bikes are mounting in numbers. Dedicated docking stations for electric bikes may be something to consider by the very forward-thinking landlord.
While not all of these amenities are essential to create a good office environment for a tenant and their employees, it is nonetheless important for landlords to have their occupant’s needs in mind. Savvy landlords will understand that offering quality commercial property for lease is about mirroring the tenant’s desires.
For more information on how to invest alongside an experienced commercial property syndicator, get in touch with Properties & Pathways.