The Keys To Enhancing The Workplace For The Return To Office
While some Americans are eager to return to the hustle and bustle of their offices, many are going to need more than just the promise of watercooler chats with co-workers to lure them from their home desks. These employees not only have some safety concerns about the offices they are returning to, but they are also in no rush to return to the ordinary cubicle or stagnant workspace they once knew.
“Rather than go to work in a routine office environment, sit at a desk and crank away all day, our whole concept of work has changed,” HALL Group Executive Vice President of Leasing Kim Butler said. “People now want to have an amenity-rich environment that is focused on their wellness and work-life balance.”
HALL Group, a Texas-based commercial real estate owner, developer and manager, is working to create a safe, vibrant workplace that employees will be eager to return to at HALL Park, its 162-acre, 15-building office park in Frisco, Texas. Its plans are ambitious, but the company’s ultimate goal is simple.
According to Butler, it’s all about providing an environment where people want to come to work. Planned new development at HALL Park will include a programmed park, new office, residential, a hotel, a food hall and a performing arts center. Construction is slated to begin later this year.
“Our industry has been moving in this direction for many years, but Covid has certainly pushed us to get there more quickly,” she said. “Companies used to be satisfied with just a fitness center and a deli on the premises of their workplace. Now, employees want wellness and tailored amenity offerings in the environment where they work.”
Traditional office parks that don’t offer those opportunities, she said, risk becoming a “dying breed.”
Coming To Frisco
HALL Park, which dedicated its first building in 1998, is no stranger to providing cultural and wellness amenities to its tenants and their employees. Founder and Chairman Craig Hall, a lifelong art lover, has designed the park to feature over 200 pieces of art, including the largest private outdoor collection of sculptures made available to the public by Texas artists. Also, more than 30% of the park is dedicated to green space, including lakes and 3 miles of jogging and walking trails.
This is in addition to other existing features that contribute to what Butler describes as an “amenity-rich environment” that is more likely to get people excited about going to work every day.
HALL Park’s amenity package will take a big step forward in coming years when it introduces a programmed public park, similar to the celebrated Klyde Warren Park in Dallas. It will feature open lawn spaces, a performance venue, a dog park, a children’s playground, technology terraces and more.
HALL Park has also partnered with the city of Frisco and Frisco Independent School District through a public-private partnership to begin the process of bringing a long-awaited performing arts center to the city of Frisco and its students.
“We anticipate that it will be a great community space for large gatherings,” Butler said. “But I think what people are most excited about is that they will be able to walk over and see their children perform in school productions in the middle of the day in a state-of-the-art venue, or just take a break from the workday and immerse themselves in something active, artistic and creative.”
Taking Wellness Seriously
The company has always embraced integrating the natural environment into the workplace.
“Our 162-acre park setting has a role in making people feel good and be more productive and less stressed,” Butler said. “We have an environment where people can get out and see water, trees and wildlife, and we are excited to continue expanding these offerings throughout our new development. People can access WiFi and work outdoors or conduct walking meetings along the trails.”
HALL Park, whose buildings have been LEED-certified since 2007, is embracing another standard, Fitwel, that is focused on wellness. The Fitwel Certification assesses buildings on factors including how well their designs and operations reduce absenteeism, instill a feeling of well-being among their users and positively impact the surrounding community’s health.
“HALL Park’s Fitwel Certification will tell companies that we take wellness seriously and we are actively investing in their health,” Butler said. “This will be the first campus-wide Fitwel designation in the country.”
It might be the things they can’t touch — or even see — however, that will play a key role in easing people’s return to the office. At a time when people are concerned about airborne contaminants, HALL Park is taking steps to protect the quality of its indoor air. Buildings have been equipped with bipolar ionization technology. The process reduces airborne viruses, molds and bacteria in offices, elevators and other indoor spaces.
“We wanted to get bipolar ionization technology in place before people began coming back to work,” she said. “We now can assure them that the air in the buildings is of the highest quality possible.”
The company has also installed several touchless features to boost hygiene. Doors and bathroom fixtures are further being automated to reduce the spread of contaminants.
Sustainability is being incorporated wherever possible.
“The future development will be designed to accommodate outdoor water use reduction, rainwater management, green cleaning and campus-wide recycling,” Butler said.
“We want to make sure that we stay relevant for businesses and their employees and remain a place where people want to come to work for decades to come,” she said. “All of these projects are taking us in that direction.”
This article was produced in collaboration between HALL Group and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.
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