Whilst some offices have been empty for several months as people have worked from home, many in the science sector or others requiring specialist facilities, have remained on-site with COVID-safe managed access.

However, with the government’s announcement of a roadmap out of lockdown, many of our commercial clients are looking to welcome back the majority of their occupiers, and ensure that their environment is as hospitable, relaxing and safe as possible.

Many landowners and facility managers have been ensuring that their buildings are COVID secure and we have also been working with them to provide a big up-lift in occupier’s outdoor work environments.

During lockdown ASA have worked on a large refurbishment project at Winnersh Triangle Business Park, which incorporated an outdoor meeting room, complete with power and wifi, as well as multiple seating opportunities to ensure all occupiers have inviting spaces to work and relax outside. Now the weather is warming up, it is really coming into its own, and incorporating outdoor meeting and seating spaces are something more and more clients and occupiers are asking for.

With many people avoiding public transport due to COVID fears, there has been a significant increase in cycling and e-scooter use. Coupled with returning to the office and warmer weather, we anticipate a significant increase in the number of people choosing to cycle or e-scoot to work. Where we have worked with clients who have put new cycling infrastructure in place, anecdotally we are seeing increased use, not only by occupiers, but by local communities, looking to explore new areas of their neighbourhood, bringing welcome footfall into business and science parks.

Occupier wellbeing has been front and centre of many employers’ minds and we have always designed our landscapes with this consideration; ensuring that spaces are restful and inviting, whether this is the landscape experienced en-route to the office, or the view from a window.

Whilst business and science parks have been quieter than usual, we have used this opportunity, working with onsite maintenance teams, to undertake some larger jobs, from the creation of wildflower meadows; to lagoon dredging and enhanced planting for seasonal displays.

I hope that whenever you feel ready to return to the office, you will find it transformed into an inviting and relaxing environment, providing welcome respite from the home office and zoom meetings!

Author: Veronica Flemming, Associate Landscape Architect, ASA Landscape Architects