We rate hotels, restaurants and airlines. Why not our office towers?

Would it strike fear into the heart of developers and employers if we publicly rated the work spaces in which we spend so many waking hours? Rate My Office comes up with an architect’s survey form, but it doesn’t ask you to name your floor, your building or your city. Why not?

We’re not insisting on working in some Architectural Digest-worthy cool as Corbusier office, but let’s make a stand for a little more respect and improvement in work environments. Imagine a rating standard for the commercial building industry that’s more than energy efficiency related. What would you rate and how would you rate your office experience?

I’ve heard that a scathing restaurant review can bring down a chef, an entrepreneur and a charlatan in a single post. How would you rate your office building?

My rating systems would start off with something like this:

Lifts/Stairs
Are you able to access the fire stairs if you want to exercise, rather than take the lifts? Are the lifts smart lifts so you don’t have to waste time stopping at all floors?

Lobby
Are you proud to meet guests in the lobby?

Windows
Is there plenty of natural light and can you open a window?

En Plein Air
Is there a balcony/terrace/outdoor/green space you can easily access?

Noise
Is there good sound insulation for ambient noise inside and outside?

Accessibility
Easy access to public transport, ample car parking and disability access? Can you get out of hours access?

Green Space
Is there any green space in, above, surrounding, in view or nearby?

Green
Is the power generated by green energy or is it coal fired? Can different offices separate out their power usage? For example as I sit at my desk in my office on a Saturday, I notice the whole building’s air-conditioning is on. I certainly didn’t turn it on and I haven’t seen anyone else come or go. Can you open a window? Can you sit at your desk with natural light or do you have to turn on the power?

Services
Do you have concierge services such as dry cleaning, parcel drops offs, postage, food and beverage.

Lavatories
Are they clean, well maintained, well lit and safe?

Cleaning
Are the external windows regularly cleaned? Are the cleaning contractors paid award wages, are they the best providers? Are the common areas polished and well maintained?

Landlords
How would you rate the landlord or agent?

I’ll make a start.

Level 7, 15 William St Melbourne
On the tick side: good lobby, good access to services, disability access, reasonably green, clean lavatories, close by public transport, and good light. On the down-side: can’t use the fire stairs for everyday access, can’t open a window, there’s no green terrace or outdoor sunny spot.

Score out of 10? Probably 8.

If this worked, the army of Davids could outfox the Goliaths. The pressure placed on developers and building owners to meet the demands of tenants and employees, employers and office buyers would make for a better working environment.

Featured image: HOK/Vanderweil Process Zero Concept Building

Anita Ziemer

Anita Ziemer is Managing Director of Slade Group and a Director of The Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas. In a career spanning roles working in government, not-for-profit, public company and the SME sector, Anita has a broad view of the landscape of Australians at work. She was Chairman of Melbourne Girls Grammar School, a Director of Kidspot through to its sale to News Ltd, and founding director of nexthire. She has B.Applied Science and an Adv Dip Screenwriting. She was Associate Producer of Summer Coda a 2010 Australian Indie feature film.

Anita has a major interest in serving the community and has held the following pro bono positions:

  • Melbourne Girls Grammar, School Council (Chairman 2011) 2009-2015
  • Melbourne Grammar School, Council’s Marketing Sub-Committee 2005-2009
  • Member, St Paul’s Restoration and Renewal Appeal 2003-2004
  • Board Member, Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia 2002-2010
  • Co-education Chair, YPO/WPO 1994, 2001-2002
  • Council Member, Christ Church Grammar School 1995-2002
Anita Ziemer
Managing Director
Slade Group
Level 7, 15 William Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: +61 3 9235 5100
aziemer@sladegroup.com.au
sladegroup.com.au

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