The positive future of the workplace
Thu, Jan 28, 2021
The way we look at our place of work will be significantly different when we head back to the office.
While some people have adapted well to working from home, others have missed the face-to-face interaction with colleagues and the day-to-day buzz and facilities of office life. Then, there are those of us who want the best of both worlds; to be part of a dynamic and flexible business environment, but in a workspace that is more than just a standard box and reflects what’s important to us now.
COVID-security, sustainability, easy commutes, and access to green space are becoming essential elements of what we need from our workplace environment, as well as the recognition of the importance of wellbeing.
Once complete, St John’s Innovation Park’s next phase of development - The Dirac Building and associated transport hub - will deliver these new necessities to the next generation of technology disruptors and innovators in Cambridge within a future-proofed, best-in-class facility.
The Dirac Building design takes into account the future requirements of our rapidly changing workspace environment. COVID-secure design elements have been incorporated in to the base build specification including:
- Minimal touch points: automatic doors integrated where it is feasible to do so.
- Automatic WCs and wash hand basins for enhanced restroom hygiene.
- Ventilation standards, crucial for ensuring safe, healthy and comfortable working conditions, will exceed BCO guidelines by over 30% throughout the building.
- State of the art management tools to create a safer environment for occupiers.
Sustainability and environmental awareness
Being mindful of the environmental impact of both the construction and onward management of these buildings is a priority, as is the health and wellbeing of occupiers and visitors.
The Dirac Building has been designed with ‘intelligent building’ best practice principles in mind; utilising technology and process to create a ‘smarter office’ with greater operational efficiency and sustainability at its core.
The development is aiming to be best in class, targeting a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating for its environmental, social and economic sustainability performance.
One example of this is the green roof on the new transport hub, acting as a sink for CO2, the gas responsible for climate change. The green roof will also attract nature, cool and clean the air, and store rainwater.
An easy commute
St John’s Innovation Park is located north-east of Cambridge city centre, close to the A14 dual carriageway, with excellent road communications via the A14, M11 and A1, making it particularly accessible from the new housing growth areas of Waterbeach and Northstowe.
The Cambridgeshire guided busway and Cambridge North Train Station are a short walk away and the Park runs a shuttle bus service to and from Cambridge North Train Station. Available to all occupiers the shuttle bus service makes the use of public transport a very convenient option for employees.
Prioritising sustainable commuting is also a priority for the Park. In addition to the shuttle bus service, the Park will also be rolling out a fleet of e-bikes and e-scooters later this year for the use of all at the Park. There is also provision on site to charge electric vehicles with points strategically positioned across the Park.
Looking to the future, the potential creation of Cambridge South Train Station will ensure the Cambridge Biomedical Campus is also just minutes away.
Access to green space
There is growing evidence of the physical and mental health benefits of green spaces. The objective of the outside space at The Dirac Building is to create an attractive, accessible and biodiverse environment.
Considerable thought has been put into the landscaping and planting surrounding the new buildings to create a quadrant-like campus, with a central area for people to wander around and relax in whilst taking a break from the office. Plants will provide year-round interest with a particular focus on species which attract wildlife and insects to improve local biodiversity.
Green links between buildings will connect the landscaping and create an emphasis on pedestrian use in the centre of the site.
Health and wellbeing
The Dirac Building and transport hub will provide extensive cycle storage (approximately 646 safe and secure covered spaces), to encourage cycling to work, as well as a cycle maintenance facility.
A new gym (including seven showers, changing and drying rooms) is also planned; a fantastic amenity for all working at the Park, providing a convenient way to improve fitness and wellness without leaving site. In addition, the Park enjoys an active social community with regular sporting, networking and social events throughout the year.
The onsite bistro, located within St John’s Innovation Centre, offering both dine in and takeaway service, is another great offering, providing quick, healthy eating options and a chance to socialise with others.
A chance to explore a new office design
The new occupiers of The Dirac Building will be able to design their space with the future of the office in mind. With lots of us working from home over the past year, we are now used to working with all our home comforts on-hand in a space that combines work life and home life.
Office interior design can make a huge difference in making the transition back to the work place easier. ‘Resimercial’ design - the combination of residential and commercial design features - will appeal to employers who want to make employees feel at home in the workspace, and is set to be a big trend in 2021.
About St John’s Innovation Park
St John’s Innovation Park, Cambridge, owned by St John’s College, is an integral part of the North Cambridge research and development cluster. The Park provides a thriving working environment for R&D, technology and life science companies and is home to an exciting community of organisations including Samsung, Qualcomm, DarkTrace, Raspberry PI, PwC, Mewburn Ellis and IESO Digital Health.
On completion, the new Dirac Building will deliver an additional 85,000 sq ft of office space in a prominent position at the north western corner of the Park and forms part of St John’s College’s strategic vision to continue to support these dynamic and ambitious companies and welcome new ones.