Frasers Property Australia is making a bid to bring the WELL Building Standard out of the CBD, with the $9.8 million fit out of its new head office at the Rhodes Corporate Park.

Frasers’ executive general manager commercial and industrial Reini Otter said the new digs aim to showcase leadership and make the company an employer of choice.

“The suburbs have been neglected in terms of innovation in the workplace with a focus on the main CBD areas, however employers and workers are now starting to demand more,” Mr Otter said.

“To remain an employer of choice and attract the best talent, companies need to offer workplaces that offer choice, flexibility, technology and atmosphere.”

The fitout was designed by BVN, and incorporates a double storey “town hall” space to encourage interaction between staff. The project will also target a 6 Star Green Star Interiors rating.

“The design approach makes conscious use of passive design as part of a strategy to encourage movement – both for fitness and to promote unplanned conversations and collaboration,” Mr Otter said.

He said a fundamental principle of the design was a belief that the built environment directly affects the health of those in it. The new fitout therefore made employee wellbeing a top priority.

BVN principal Ninotschka Titchkosky said the design also aimed to align the space with the relationships-based nature of the company’s business.

“Physically connecting all the business units and project partners through a significant new double storey ‘town hall’ space provides a central focus to the office,” Ms Ninorschka said.

“This space allows new opportunities to emerge for the way Frasers Property can do business both formally and informally, but importantly in an authentic and transparent manner.”

There is one central café within the central space and only one other tea-making point to encourage movement and interaction. The “town hall” also includes a lounge space, an indoor terrace, mobile trees, large scale projection and large meeting rooms with “garage doors”.

“All aspects of the space are designed to encourage interaction, such as removing bulky built elements from around the core and replacing them with mobile tables, whiteboards and short throw projectors to reduce distance when circulating the floor, while still respecting the need for quiet work zones and booths that enable concentrated work,” Ms Ninotschka said.

“Workstations are not traditionally planned on a grid but placed in a way that encourages pathways through the space and serendipitous interaction.”

Initiatives towards Green Star credits include an upgrade to full LED lighting and a sensor system, minimised construction waste, a majority of eco-certified furniture and materials, energy efficiency measures and a commitment to purchasing green power for 100 per cent of the building’s energy needs.

During the demolition of the old fitout, in addition to targeting a high rate of recycling, surplus furniture was sent to Tonga to support communities in need.

To meet the requirements for WELL certification, initiatives included an upgrade to HVAC to increase fresh air levels and a higher level of air filtration; the use of an ergonomic consultant to assess workstations and chairs; diverse break out spaces including “quiet rooms” booths and benches; and 30 per cent sit-to-stand desks and standing conference and meeting points.

Ongoing measures to increase wellness in the workplace will include daily fresh fruit and vegetables, a health and wellness library and a scheme of reimbursements and subsidies for some structured fitness programs and activities. Staff will also have free access to the Rhodes Corporate Business Park gym.

The new fitout also features end of trip facilities for cyclists, indoor plants and trees up to three metres high, natural light and views for all workstations and two outdoor balconies.

Mr Otter said the workplace design “sits comfortably between activity-based working and traditional office space”.

“As a diversified property leader, we need the flexibility to be agile in how teams are formed based on the project and changing market dynamics.”

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