Frasers Property Australia has been awarded WELL Gold certification for its new headquarters in Rhodes, Sydney, in a sign that sustainability and wellness are moving further out from their traditional CBD home.

According to Frasers, the 3700 square metre office, which had a $9.8 million fitout led by BVN, is only the second Australian project to be certified WELL Gold. It has also targeted a 6 Star Green Star Interiors rating.

Frasers general manager sustainability Paolo Bevilacqua said “mobility, natural daylight and comfort” were key considerations in creating a healthy workplace.

He said a diverse range of spaces in the building had also worked to improve productivity, which has been backed up by staff indoor environment quality satisfaction scores that have “dramatically” improved since staff moved to the new office three months ago.

For example, there’s been a 56 per cent improvement in staff satisfaction regarding health and productivity; spatial comfort is up 77 per cent; indoor air quality is up 64 per cent; and visual comfort has seen a 44 per cent improvement.

Frasers executive general manager, commercial & industrial and investment property Reini Otter said the company was proud of the WELL achievement.

“One of the goals of the business is to build sustainable workplaces. Our headquarters is an exemplary illustration of putting this into practice,” he said.

“The design approach, in collaboration with BVN Architects, makes conscious use of passive design as part of a strategy to encourage movement – both for fitness and to promote unplanned conversations and collaboration. Fundamental to the design is the belief that the built environment can directly affect our health – making employee wellbeing a top priority.”

WELL gives credits over seven categories: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

Specific WELL features of the office include:

  • an airconditioner upgrade to boost fresh air and level of filtration
  • ergonomic workstations and chairs
  • a range of breakout and collaboration spaces including quiet rooms
  • 30 per cent sit-to-stand desks as well as standing conference and meeting rooms
  • LED lighting system with sensor control
  • High quality end-of-trip facilities (equivalent to a five-star hotel)
  • Active design to encourage interaction, walking and access to nature
  • A high level of natural light and views

There are also a number of workplace initiatives that have been developed to meet WELL criteria, including providing fruit and vegetables, a health and wellness library, reimbursement and subsidies for some structured fitness programs, indoor plants and trees, and free access to the Rhodes Corporate Business Park gym.

On top of the WELL initiatives, to meet Green Star standard the office has also worked to minimise construction waste during fitout, gained eco-certification of most new furniture and materials, used acoustic treatments to minimise disruption and purchased 100 per cent Green Power.

Mr Otto said that traditionally non-CBD offices had been neglected in terms of workplace innovation.

“However, employers and workers are now starting to demand more. To remain an employer of choice and attract the best talent, companies need to offer workplaces that offer choice, flexibility, technology and atmosphere.”

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