It’s Not Only Large Businesses That Need To Focus On Wellness
Wellness is rising up the agenda the world over. As millennials gain dominance across workplaces, businesses are driven to offer much more than a benchmarked salary and a tidy bonus.
Approaching wellness means considering working hours, supporting other aspects of employees’ lives and generally creating an attractive and comfortable working environment. A study from the Irish Business and Employers Federation found that 76% of employees believe there is a positive link between employees’ health and wellbeing and company productivity.
It’s easier said than done for some businesses, however. Improving the workplace environment doesn’t come cheap. Some offices just aren’t geared up to offer comfortable breakout areas, while offering discounts at gyms, for example, eats into the bottom line. For a startup, it can be hard to compete with a bigger business.
The growing coworking sector is offering businesses one solution to forking out for facilities and services themselves, as many operators offer community engagement events and services. Another solution is to take space on a business campus such as Dublin Airport Central, which is busy adding further wellness aspects to its offering.
“We see on the ground that businesses want to improve wellness to increase staff retention and attraction in a competitive marketplace,” Dublin Airport Central’s Head of Sales and Marketing Paul Byrne said. “Businesses are doing everything they can to create a better place to work. As a landlord, it’s our job to help them.”
Levelling The Playing Field
As Byrne pointed out: “To be happy at work, it can’t all be about work.” For a business, the key thing to getting wellness right is to appreciate that each staff member has different needs. Some like to go to the gym, others like to be near a high-end restaurant, others want a place to escape to from their desks. Increasingly, an employer needs to take this into consideration.
Through its investment plan, Dublin Airport Central is attempting to cater for as many needs as possible in one place. Once the 750K SF commercial development is complete, it will offer a wide range of fitness facilities and parks, as well as retail and leisure offerings such as restaurants and bars. In June, Dublin Airport Central opened a 1.25-acre park with a street food festival.
“We’re fortunate that the campus has been here for several years, so as we develop our offering we can plug in to what is already there,” Byrne said. “For example, there were already two swimming pools, an athletic track, a driving range and a bowling alley. We’re adding gyms, new parks, a regular street food offering and an events calendar such as a 5K run and five-a-side football. We’re trying to deliver a world class campus to support companies who can arrive on-site — a plug-and-play solution for all their staff’s wellness needs.
The plug-and-play aspect could be particularly beneficial for startups and growing businesses. A 10-employee business can tap into the facilities that a much larger business could offer, which will provide a much more attractive proposition to potential employees and will boost staff retention. The events calendar operated by the campus offers ready-made networking opportunities with other companies, as well as fun activities that create a sense of ownership of the place.
“We can level the playing field in terms of talent attraction for businesses of all sizes,” Byrne said. “We have a real focus on supporting startups as they grow. Each business has a dedicated service manager in our team to help them move to a larger space in another part of the campus, for example. Although we are a landlord, we are very much competing with coworking operators by running a service model, not a transactional model.”
Location, Location, Location
Two aspects of wellness that are often out of a business’ hands once an office has been established are location and commute time. Dublin city centre is one of the most congested cities in the world, with a severe housing shortage that is leading to rocketing rental costs.
As a result, international businesses are looking outside the centre for their headquarters, such as Kellogg’s and ESB International that have taken space at Dublin Airport Central. Smaller businesses are following suit as employers realise the benefits this could bring to employees.
“The airport is on the north side of the main motorways, which will save people hours a week sitting in traffic,” Byrne said. “We have a dynamic mobility plan on campus to help commuters be as efficient as possible, including the largest bus station in Ireland that operates 1,800 buses a day.”
For those who really want to escape the office, Dublin airport is a 15-minute drive from 88km of coastline, as well as golf courses, castles and other experiences. Although a visit to a local castle isn’t on many business’ list for what to offer staff, there is little doubt that they will benefit from the ability to offer employees choice in how they fit their working day around their own lives.
This feature was produced by Bisnow Branded Content in collaboration with Dublin Airport Central. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.