Announcements like the development of a gigantic new electric car-battery plant at Coventry Airport are likely to become increasingly commonplace in the years ahead.
Between a post-Brexit push on British manufacturing and the growth in ecommerce, these kinds of industrial and logistics developments are going to play a greater role in supporting our economic growth and future jobs market.
With more and more people set to work in these environments – sometimes inelegantly referred to by those in the industrial property world as ‘sheds’ – we need to keep thinking about how they support employee productivity, wellbeing and talent retention.
We have some catching up to do in terms of how we design and manage warehousing and factory spaces as effective workplaces. To illustrate, the 4,000 employees that will be based at the new gigafactory is similar to the number at Google’s London headquarters and the Stirling Prize-winning Bloomberg building. Buildings like these now often include features such as curated art collections, landscaped gardens and even climbing walls.
It is clear how much thought is put into the employee experience in the office market. Why shouldn’t we be doing the same in industrial and logistics?
Some enlightened developers and estates managers are leading the way; SEGRO’s Park Enfield site, for example, has nearly 5,000 sq m of green space, a riverside footpath and fitness equipment on site.
Let’s keep going. How can we manage these environments to encourage community and a feeling of belonging among staff? How can we make buildings more welcoming? And why are art and creativity seemingly just for offices?
Occupiers of all sizes and specialisms are increasingly prioritising issues around productivity and wellbeing, and industrial property needs to respond to this. Doing so will deliver maximum value from these assets and help developers secure a competitive leasing advantage.
Mark Fitzgerald is property and asset director at Navana Property Group