Wednesday, October 24, 2018
The Landsec project is the first workplace in the world to achieve both WELL Certification at the Silver level and a BREEAM Outstanding rating, setting a global benchmark for healthy, sustainable office space, and simultaneously becoming the UK’s largest WELL Certiﬁed interior space. Landsec's space was also awarded the BREEAM Office Refurbishment and Fit Out Award 2017 for achieving the highest ever rated BREEAM 2014 Fit Out at post-construction stage. This also proves that a ten-year-old asset has stood the test of time, allowing an occupier to fit out their space to modern well-being standards with only minor adjustments to the base building.
Why did you pursue WELL? What were your objectives?
Our vision was to create a collaborative, innovative workplace to connect employees to the partners, customers and communities we serve. We decided to pursue WELL to learn more about the standard, with the intention of being able to lead our customers through certification if the need arises. We also wanted recognition for the planned well-being features of our office design, a crucial part of the employee offering in the new space.
At a glance:
How does WELL align with the mission or values of your organization?
As the UK’s largest real estate investment trust, our vision is to lead our industry in sustainability. We are committed to delivering a great experience for our customers, our communities, our partners and our employees. WELL offered a framework not only to demonstrate our leadership in real estate but also to provide a fantastic employee experience which would contribute to our employer brand.
How did your team approach the WELL Certification process and work together to achieve your WELL goals?
The design of 80-100 Victoria Street needed to support and promote collaboration, enhance the workplace experience for occupiers and support the business goals and aspirations. To generate these outcomes the project team established a collaborative culture where they shared ideas, new thinking and challenges in an open and positive way. The team held regular meetings between stakeholders and established a partnering mentality between Landsec and delivery partners in order to achieve success.
Intent: To discourage prolonged sitting and sedentary behaviors by providing active workstations and furnishings to as many people in the building as possible.
The activity-based-working strategy was central to the design of the fit out with a huge variety of work settings including a treadmill desk, quiet working booths, atrium spaces and a variety of high tables with stools and benches.
Intent: To incorporate strategic planning and mitigation required to prevent general issues of acoustical disturbance from both externally and internally generated noise.
White-noise machines address background distractions, helping to increase privacy levels. Quiet rooms, soundproof booths and atrium spaces contribute to peaceful and individual work spaces.
Intent: To support circadian health through interventions using electric lighting.
To address concerns with lighting, the team included LED circadian lighting, changing to mimic the time of day.
What are the most innovative or stand-out aspects of your WELL project?
The new HQ delivers an 11% saving in net internal area over our previous office, with a 40% reduction in allocated desks whilst still providing work space for 470 people across over 700 individual places to work.
As well as achieving this space efficiency, new features in the office space planning allow innovative ways of working. The inclusion of an Apple "Genius Bar" style Support Bar has given a highly visible and centrally located IT and facilities support desk, giving staff the chance to discuss issues face to face and have problems resolved quickly. sixty percent of issues are resolved in five minutes and this feature has been widely reported as the number one addition in the new offices. A new Partner Suite was also created, a designated suite for meetings and presentations with visiting architects, design team consultants and vendors. These rooms allow Landsec to work in close collaboration with their partners and are highly flexible and adaptable.
The activity-based-working strategy was central to the design of the fit out with a huge variety of work settings including a treadmill desk, quiet working booths, atrium spaces and a variety of high tables with stools and benches. This variety in options needed to be coupled with a strong technology solution and Microsoft SurfacePro devices together with Skype interoperability for all staff mean that staff can work anywhere, any time.
What challenges did you face as you were incorporating WELL features? How did you solve them?
An open, collaborative and problem-solving spirit was established early on in the project team to ensure that issues were brought to the table and resolved quickly. Effective teamwork and collaboration in the project team was the most critical factor in achieving both WELL and BREEAM standards.
What positive impacts resulted from your WELL Certification?
The activity-based working strategy has been successful with the post-occupation Leesman survey finding that 88% of staff believe the new office design enables them to work productively, against the global average of 67%, and showing a 20% increase from the previous office.
A key finding of the pre-move Leesman survey was staff dissatisfaction with lighting and acoustics. In response to this we worked with the design team to introduce several design features. For example, white-noise machines address background distractions, helping to increase privacy levels. We included quiet rooms, soundproof booths and atrium spaces for peaceful and individual work spaces. To address concerns with lighting, we included LED circadian lighting, changing to mimic the time of day. These measures were proven to be successful with a 40% increase in satisfaction with air quality levels and 25% increase in satisfaction with lighting levels recorded.
Employee feedback puts Landsec at the top of 1,900 organizations surveyed worldwide by the Leesman Index for workplace well-being and productivity, with the highest recorded pre-to-post delta score in the history of the index.
What did you learn from WELL? What post-certification metrics can you share related to outcomes?
It isn’t just the Leesman survey that proves the results. An 18% reduction in internal emails, indicative of the fact that people are collaborating more, and a 65% reduction in printing signals a successful shift to modern ways of working, through people using Surface Pro and Microsoft Hubs to share and view information.
Less than 2% of project costs were incurred for fees and design development to meet WELL Silver Certification and BREEAM 2014 Outstanding. An important outcome of this project was showing that high-quality office environments designed for activity-based working and constructed using sustainable materials already meet the requirements of both WELL and BREEAM without incurring significant added costs.
How has WELL Certification changed or improved your company culture or operations?
The 80-100 Victoria Street project gave us the opportunity to adopt a new workplace strategy aimed at increasing communication and collaboration between different areas of the business. The design of the workplace, technology solutions and employee well-being offering has helped us to execute on this strategy. Pursuing WELL Certification gave us both a solid technical framework to deliver the space but also a hook to communicate the well-being value of the space to employees and partners. The project and certification have been a success.