Head of Workplace in Europe, Lendlease
Pictured above: IQL’s Living Room, designed by architects YOU&ME & Cooke Fawcet
Expanding the definition of ‘workplace’ beyond ‘the content of its four walls’ is key to developing a healthier, happier and more productive workforce, says Head of Workplace Futures for Lendlease, Alison Webb.
The majority of modern businesses consider employee wellness as an internal issue – improved through interior design or in-house cultural shifts. But for Alison Webb, Head of Workplace Futures for Lendlease, employee wellbeing doesn’t start and finish at the reception desk.
“Your workplace is much more than the building you rent – it’s your whole neighbourhood. We go above and beyond by designing in ‘wellness’ through this expanded definition,” says Webb.
In the wake of London 2012 Olympics, Stratford – a once neglected district of London – has become a hub for some of London’s biggest business, retail and educational opportunities. Within this sea of investment, International Quarter London (IQL) is offering its community the perfect environment to achieve worker wellbeing according to Webb.
Covering 22 acres, the flexible office space, vibrant retail and residential opportunity is currently home to Transport for London, the Financial Conduct Authority, UNICEF UK, Cancer Research UK and many more.
Like many modern office workspaces, IQL’s commercial buildings have cutting edge technology and design features for occupier satisfaction.
From 100% fresh air ventilation systems, light enhancing façades through to stairwell design, the office space creates “behavioural nudges to make healthy choices easier,” says Webb, “but we look beyond that too.”
While employee wellbeing within the office is already a high priority for modern businesses – soon employees will be demanding healthier surrounding environments too.
Utilising green spaces is a ‘walk in the park’
While employee wellbeing within the office is already a high priority for modern businesses – soon employees will be demanding healthier surrounding environments too. Ones that allow them to escape to nature, feel socially connected to their colleagues and the wider community, and ones that support healthier lifestyles and choices.
The health benefits for tenants utilising a workspace in Stratford’s IQL extend beyond the offices’ four walls; with the world-class Olympic facilities and 560 acres of sprawling Queen Elizabeth Olympic parkland with purpose-built walking routes and outdoor workspaces.
“Leaving the office for a walking meeting, or even to walk on your own isn’t just good for your health it’s also good for business. Research out of Stanford University shows us that walking improves creative thinking by an average of 60%.”* There is a high standard of air quality in Stratford, so the concept of leaving the office for fresh air has much more value, according to Webb.**
“Businesses and workers should consider the value of location in terms of air quality, noise and light pollution. Areas like Stratford score well across pollution metrics” says Webb.
Blurring the line between indoor and outdoor spaces
“Connecting occupants to nature and the outdoors, is key to reducing worker stress, promote productivity and look after mental wellbeing,” says Webb.
Often, buildings will be designed to ‘bring the outside in’ through biophilic design, and copious levels of natural light and views of outside.
“Where possible, we design buildings to maximise views across green spaces and create motivation for occupiers to step outside their buildings through lunchtime events and classes, curated walking routes around the park, and outdoor workspaces for fresh air and reflection. We consider the wellbeing experience we offer to be truly holistic both inside and outside the four walls of your workplace.”