suburbs of San Francisco, a new seven-building campus called The
Cove, one of the largest construction projects in the world, is nearing full occupancy. Another 1.9 million square feet of speculative
developments were initiated in the area in the first half of the year.
As New York City aggressively makes its play to be a global
life sciences leader, micro-clusters are blooming in nearby New
Jersey, Long Island and Westchester County. A 3-million-square-
foot, mixed-use biotech center is being developed in Westchester
County, near Westchester Medical Center and New York Medical
College, which will add 2. 25 million square feet of biotech and
In Philadelphia, growing pharmaceutical organizations, including Trevana, are relocating to bigger locations in the suburbs. The
Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County, also based in
the suburbs, recently broke ground on a new 47,000-square-foot
lab and incubator space expansion.
Rule No. 2: Focus on the employee experience
The appeal of these new life science parks includes the rich
amenities they provide. For example, in a hot San Diego life
science neighborhood, The Alexandria at Torrey Pines is attracting
life science companies that are eager to give employees a unique
environment. Tenants on the campus share large conference room
spaces, a fitness center and a restaurant with an award-winning
chef. Similarly, the sprawling The Cove development in San Francisco will offer fitness rooms, a bowling alley, bocce ball courts, an
amphitheater and hotel space when fully complete.
All of these bells and whistles are simply part of a broader shift
happening inside the workplace over the past several years as
companies across industries hone in on the employee experience.
Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report notes that
“a productive, positive employee experience has emerged as the
new contract between employer and employee,” which is particularly important in recruiting and retaining the younger, highly
skilled employees the life sciences companies need as Baby Boomer
Rule No. 3: Prioritize employee well-being
When you’re in the business of curing disease and ailments, the
well-being of your own workforce can’t be understated. Research
now points to a very clear connection between the work environment and employee health.
Consider the impact of natural light and open views. A World
Green Building Council (WGBC) report sponsored by JLL found
that even modest improvements in scientists’ and office workers’
access to natural light can positively impact their productivity.
Having expansive views (whether inside or outside the office) has
an even bigger influence, providing visual cues that help open the
mind to new possibilities.
Integrating more live plants inside the office to serve as natural air filters has proven benefits for lowering stress, improving
cognitive functions and enhancing creativity. High levels of carbon
dioxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) make employees
tired and less able to think clearly. A 2011 lab test mimicking an
office with high levels of VOCs found that increasing ventilation
improved workplace performance by 8 percent.
Changes don’t have to be expansive. Employees can reap benefits
from a few potted plants around the office. Paying attention to these
small workplace design details reinforces the message that a company values its employees and feeds into the culture inside the office.
Investing to win
Revenue pressures may limit the funds companies have to invest
in being in a prime location or offering top-notch amenities—but
that doesn’t put you out of the game. It doesn’t have to cost millions of dollars to create the ideal workplace environment. A great
workplace can happen anywhere with a little dose of innovation
and a large dose of listening to what employees want.
At the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, the lobby incorporates
greenery, natural lighting and sweeping views into its floor plan, inviting
plenty of opportunity for engagement. Photo: JLL
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