When we conduct Space Needs Assessments for companies looking to lease new office space, one of the amenities that is increasingly coming up as a high priority is some form of outdoor space - typically a rooftop patio. Sounds very cool and why wouldn't you want one? Well, they're expensive from a rent and operating cost perspective and they're often only available in new buildings either for the sole use of the anchor tenant or as a shared amenity with all of the associated restrictions. Also, although those of us that live in the lower mainland like to kid ourselves, we don't live in California and there's a high probability of rain for 9 months of the year.
I'm not really selling it to you, am I? OK then, let's look at some of the benefits.
A rooftop patio can be a way to really make your company's brand and culture come to life. It can be linked to your staff lunchroom or client area to give you a spectacular space to bring staff together, e.g. with a summer BBQ, to celebrate achievements or alternatively to entertain clients.
In an Activity Based Working(ABW) environment where staff are provided with technology that allows them to work anywhere within the building, it can be another setting in your palette of places to collaborate, removing some of the pressure from your workhorse meeting rooms. It can be fun too. Don't we all remember when we were kids and on days when the weather was nice lessons were held outdoors?
Additionally, if you were planning to have your next office WELL certified to demonstrate your commitment as employer to the health & wellbeing of your staff then a quick look at the WELL standard suggests a whole raft of credits that could be achieved using the patio as a starting point.
How about a fitness court as a less intimidating supplement to the staff gym. Exercise equipment that looks like street furniture can be built into your patio space to provide a self-guided workout. There's even an app to help you progress.
My personal favourite 'bonus' use for the patio is as a staff garden. Using compact self watering container beds such as those from North Vancouver's LifeSpace Gardens staff can have access to fresh produce all year round by growing their own and trading surplus with colleagues or donating to charity.
So all things considered rooftop patios are good for quite a lot of things, and if you apply some imagination then they can provide bang for your buck in terms of employee engagement and health and well-being that is difficult to beat.
Alan Hancock, Principal, Workplace Design Consultant, Space at Work
Space at Work are specialists in designing workplaces. We take the time to understand our client's requirements and by asking the right questions and listening to the responses we provide solutions that incorporate best practices, current and emerging trends to create spaces that are agile, adaptive and ready to accept whatever change is around the corner. Please contact us if you have an upcoming workplace design project that would benefit from our expertise.