Commercial recap for FY2022
Resilience, reconnection and community. According to Nicole Ward, General Manager, Commercial Services, these were the common themes across ISPT’s Commercial sector in the last financial year. Nicole reflects on life after lockdown, shares some of her favourite moments plus offers a sneak peek into the year ahead.
With cities being able to open up, what were some of the highlights from the last year?
In the commercial space, it was all about the return to office and making that as safe and welcoming as possible. We saw teams reuniting, relationships being rebuilt and communities beginning to thrive again. ISPT precincts hosted some wonderful events for our tenant partners and communities, with a recent highlight being our Art Talk series, a partnership with the National Gallery to highlight the work of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.
We also saw a renewed focus on evolving ISPT’s precinct strategy, activating our precincts and ensuring they continue to be exciting destinations for the wider community. It’s no longer just about beautiful space. Art, culture, music, networking and wellness programs are all part of the equation now and allow people to enjoy their work environments in new and meaningful ways.
Health and wellness were huge focus areas for ISPT and we continue to have some of the healthiest office buildings in the country – where the air is cleaner inside compared to out. Many of our buildings have touchless technology available to enhance the safety and wellbeing of our tenant partners, and we’re using Bluetooth technology with mobile phones to provide access to all parts of a building, creating a truly seamless journey which starts at the front door.
In addition to this, we’ve invested into technology that makes our in-building wellness programs and offerings more accessible than ever. So even when people are working from home, they can still participate and feel a sense of belonging.
Tell us about life after lockdown in the commercial world?
The lack of social connection throughout lockdowns had a huge impact on everyone, and corporates and companies were no different. So when we they headed back to the office environment, it was with a renewed appreciation for in-person connection.
After all, there’s only so many video meetings people can take!
We know that coming together in a workspace supports more authentic connection and helps teams reconnect to the business vision, which is something our tenant partners really value. Being able to reunite with colleagues and re-establish those relationships was important for our tenant partners and providing those safe spaces that bring teams together has been rewarding for the team.
What are you excited about for the year ahead?
So many things! We’re teaming up with tenant partners and deep diving into social capital – understanding drivers and making sure we’re expanding on and enhancing our tenant partner offerings and filling any gaps that they may be unable to.
As part of this, we’re piloting a social capital framework we co-created with a long-term tenant partner and investor. We see social capital as a currency that runs through an organisation, affecting people’s happiness and wellbeing and facilitating the flow of knowledge and creativity. These non-financial metrics play an important role in any organisation, but many places don’t measure it. We’re working on a program that does.
Where do you see the commercial sector heading?
The future of office is all about flexibility, in every sense of the word. We know from our research that a physical workplace is important for maintaining and amplifying culture, so there will always be a need for an office. But it’s all about what is best for people and teams.
One thing we’re investigating is establishing small, plug and play work hubs in local ISPT centres. So think flexible, beautifully appointed, technology-enabled space without the commute into a big city. It’s a new take on Flex by ISPT that is more localised, closer to people’s homes and takes advantage of the relationship between retail and commercial.
ISPT’s commercial positioning is about being the property solutions partner of choice, thinking outside the box and helping people flourish and be their best. The commercial team is excited to continue partnering with tenant partners and trialling new initiatives to see what resonates best. It’s an exciting time.