The new look warehouse
Change in the warehouse is, for now, being made by sector specialist investors looking to retain those occupiers who have a strong sense of their duty of care. Research in the UK by Westfield Health found that 52 percent of workers in the logistics sector felt not enough is being done to support employee wellbeing.
Good amenities can make a huge difference to helping employees relax during breaks and feel positive about their working day.
In Budapest, for example, global warehousing investor Prologis’ Harbor scheme includes amenities ranging from barbecue areas for socialising to five-a-side football pitches. “Offering access to services which keep the warehouse workforce fit and healthy has obvious productivity benefits for the occupier,” says Juhasz. Also in Hungary, developer Goodman’s Üllő Airport scheme, built in late 2018 and leased to French hypermarket chain Auchan, has relaxation rooms for staff built around natural light.
Setting higher standards
Certification schemes are equally playing a part in raising the bar. Standards such as BREEAM, recently awarded to CEE developer CTP for two of its schemes in Hungary, recognizes a warehouse’s sustainability credentials, and WELL, traditionally used to certify an office building’s impact on human health and wellbeing through factors such as air and light quality and comfort, are helping to improve how facilities are designed.
Prologis’ Tilburg DC5 distribution centre in the Netherlands incorporates green areas for employees alongside software from start-up, Hello Energy to monitor workplace temperatures and ventilation in real time. It also includes large glass surfaces to maximize daylight and comfort in the warehouse alongside filters from Dutch start-up Join the Pipe for drinking water.
“The wellbeing of staff is an increasing priority across the warehousing sector but it’s particularly pertinent issue in so-called mega-shed big boxes in often remote, out of town locations where employees can feel more isolated,” says Juhasz.
What’s more, commuting is as important as the physical work environment in supporting employee wellbeing. Prologis has a car-sharing service for employees at its four Budapest parks, while Hungarian-owned Freeport is also factoring in the daily commute as part of its effort to make life better for staff.