Workman has successfully guided Patron Capital and APAM’s Arlington Business Park through the Fitwel accreditation process, making it the UK’s first business park to achieve this certification. The Fitwel standard provides a blueprint for making positive changes that are scientifically proven to enhance occupier health and wellbeing. Awarded two stars for wellbeing excellence, Arlington Business Park is the highest scoring project globally in the Multi-Tenant Base Building category.
Contributing to occupier health, wellbeing and satisfaction
Demonstrating good ESG management to investors
2 stars – the highest scoring project globally in its category
Arlington Business Park is an award-winning office park in the Thames Valley comprising 360,000 sq ft of office accommodation across 11 buildings. It is owned by Patron Capital and APAM, and managed by Workman, which are all committed to responsible property investment and management.
APAM was interested in achieving Fitwel healthy building certification, a service which Workman provides. Together, they selected Arlington Business Park, which is centred around a lake and offers a range of amenities that support wellbeing, including a café, gym and garden seating areas. These features, combined with an engaged asset manager and proactive on-site team, made the Park a good location to pilot Fitwel.
Key drivers included:
The certification process was managed by Workman’s Sustainability and Wellbeing team, which includes a qualified Fitwel Ambassador. It focused on the main building at Arlington Business Park, Building 1410, covering communal spaces, the management suite and surrounding amenities, but excluding occupier areas.
The team gained Fitwel credits by providing photographs and other evidence of existing wellbeing features and initiatives, such as:
The team also introduced a range of new initiatives that gained additional Fitwel credits, including:
The certification process started in August 2018 and was completed in February 2019. Early on, Workman’s Fitwel Ambassador spent a half-day at the Park, looking at relevant areas and speaking with the on-site team. He uploaded evidence to the Fitwel portal and the on-site team took action on new initiatives where appropriate, supported by the asset manager. Workman is now exploring additional opportunities with clients.
Typical costs for Fitwel certification range from £6,000 to £10,000 depending on asset size, with additional costs for physical works such as signage and allotments.
The benefits of Fitwel at Arlington Business Park include:
How to achieve a Fitwel first?
Workman collaborated closely with Fitwel throughout the accreditation process to undertake the first certification of a UK business park. Originally developed in the US, Fitwel has mainly been used in the UK for city centre offices and workspaces. Some tailoring may be needed to adapt the criteria for Europe and for different property types, such as business parks. For instance, the approach to car parking in semi-rural locations may need to be different to central London. Also, in the US many workers do not have access to paid family leave[i], so lactation rooms are a high priority and thus the highest scoring item on Fitwel. It may be appropriate to adjust this score for the UK, which has statutory maternity leave and pay. Workman gave detailed feedback to Fitwel.
How to prove the business case for health and wellbeing initiatives?
Whilst there is growing evidence that designing and managing places for wellbeing correlates with stronger levels of occupier retention and long-term financial returns, more needs to be done by the industry and organisations such as Fitwel to quantify the business case. This could involve monitoring indicators such as occupancy rates, occupier retention and asset value alongside wellbeing initiatives. Workman recognises that effective property management is no longer simply concerned with looking after the physical asset, but it is increasingly important to provide environments within those assets to enhance the users’ overall experience, including wellbeing.
i U.S Department of Labor (2018).
Reena Agarwal, Chief Operating Officer at the Center for Active Design (operator of Fitwel)
“By achieving the highest score for the current Multi-Tenant Base Building Scorecard for Arlington Business Park, Workman LLP, Patron Capital and APAM have demonstrated global leadership in creating health-promoting workplaces for occupiers. We are thrilled that these Fitwel UK users continue to be at the forefront of building health.”