What are they?
An amenity space for staff can comprise planting, or other ecological features such as a pond, together with seating and benches. Space can be within an internal courtyard, terracing or as part of the external landscaping.
Advantages / Disadvantages
Increases biodiversity on the building / site making a positive sustainability statement. Seen as improving tenant satisfaction and wellbeing. Studies have indicated that green or amenity space can lead to an increase in occupant productivity.
Potentially high maintenance, depending on the planting strategy and the features included. Irrigation is a key consideration, particularly if there is no rainwater harvesting in place or there is planting present that has a high water dependency. Drought resistant planting is now increasingly common to avoid this.
The ongoing cost of an amenity space will depend on its maintenance requirements. Replacement plants and shrubs can be minimised if appropriate management is followed.
Retrofit / improvement opportunities
Retrofitting an internal or external amenity space requires space either internally (such as in an atrium or light-well), on the roof or within the site boundary.
Internal or external space is required for an amenity space but even a relatively small dedicated area can bring benefits.
Floor plate implications
Internal amenity spaces can reduce available floor space. However they can be seen as an alternative form of break-out space and to that extent are just a reassignment of area.
The amenity space should be attractive to occupants which in turn can help improve staff wellbeing and morale. Studies have indicated that green or amenity space can lead to an increase in tenant productivity.
Maintenance for an amenity space will depend on features present. Certain species of plants, shrubs and trees and features such as ponds will require regular upkeep to maintain appearance and ecological viability. Internal plants will require regular watering.
Designated internal or external space featuring planting, seating and other recreational features.
Questions to ask
- Does the building have a dedicated amenity space for staff?
- Does this space have plantings or other features that encourage biodiversity?
- How is the space managed?
- Who has access to the space? If there is no dedicated amenity space on-site, where is the nearest open space for staff to use?