Why industrial spaces are getting a wellbeing makeover

Gyms, parent rooms and community managers are emerging in warehouse precincts to promote sustainability and employee health

Amid growing demand for sustainability-certified buildings, plus longer worker hours on site, employers and landlords in industrial and logistics real estate are placing increased emphasis on wellbeing-led spaces.

Mental and physical wellbeing has been a focus for corporates for several years. But it is only over the past 12 months that warehouse occupiers have begun taking action, too.

One example: The Quantum Logistics Park in Ireland, which includes a running track, multi-use games area, multiple exercise points, public art installations, a centralised food plaza and expansive green space.

This example is indicative of a growing enthusiasm among industrial occupiers to create warehouses that will fulfil their sustainability requirements and attract the best staff.

Developers are also hoping to attract blue chip tenants.

 Leon Carroll, a senior project director in JLL’s project and development services team, notes: “We are seeing proactive efforts to improve breakout rooms and audio-visual facilities, and to include wellness and prayer rooms, along with better end-of-trip facilities. We expect this trend will intensify and industrial developers and occupiers will strive to further enhance amenity for occupants of industrial facilities.”

While breakout rooms and end-of-trip facilities are some of the changes being implemented in individual warehouses, environmental, social and governance (ESG) real estate strategies are also appearing at precinct level. 

Examples include:

  1. Displaying art commissioned from local communities, which enhances the aesthetic appeal of a precinct and contributes to a
    sense of place. Local artwork can also foster community pride and identity.

  2. Outdoor exercise spaces, such as basketball courts, running tracks or dedicated areas for physical activity.

  3. Indigenous and native landscaping, which can provide connection to nature and hark to the cultural heritage of an area.
    This can also promote water conservation.

  4. The appointment of a community manager whose role is dedicated to engagement with the local community as well as
    supporting the day-to-day operation of a precinct.

The prevalence of automation in logistics is also expected to attract a new generation of workers with different expectations of the workplace. Environments that are efficient and appealing will be critical to maintaining employee satisfaction, retention, and overall productivity.