Virgin Money’s ‘touch-free’ office of the future
No touching: technology will create a safe environment
Virgin Money’s new head office under construction in Glasgow has been re-engineered as touch-free environment in response to needs of the post-Covid workplace.
The developer behind 177 Bothwell Street – set to become the city’s largest single office building – is implementing a series of health and wellbeing measures will eliminate the need to press buttons, switches or even use soap and flush the toilets.
With human touch identified as a major factor in transmission of the deadly disease, all the building’s ‘touch-points’ have been reviewed. Occupiers will arrive and make their way to their chosen floor – via reception, security turnstiles, and lifts – without any contact with the building’s exterior or interior, whether they enter the premises by foot, bicycle, or car.
Mobile devices will be pre-accredited, to allow operation of security gates and lifts with an app, while touchless, app-activated lighting will remove the need to physically operate switches.
Water, soap, hand-drying facilities, and toilet flushing will also be fitted with sensor technology to remove the need for touch and automatically inform the facilities management team when supplies run low. A dedicated loading bay and centrally located delivery lockers will mean that mail and packages can be delivered directly between supplier and customer.
Additional health measures include a review of the ventilation system to incorporate new filtering methods and enhance heat recovery safety.
Underfloor heating will replace air-based systems, particularly in small, high-density areas – such as toilets and reception – meaning there is 100% fresh air ventilation supplied without recirculating air.
Set for completion in summer next year, a large section of the building has been pre-let to Virgin Money for its new headquarters, while developer HFD Group will occupy 65,000 sq. ft.
Stephen Lewis, managing director of HFD Property Group, said: “As lockdown measures ease and office-based businesses return to work, there is a lot to consider for landlords and occupiers before any kind of normality can resume.
“The health and safety of people are the foremost concern for every organisation, and property developers and landlords have an important role to play in supporting their efforts.
“Covid-19 has prompted us to review the building design and operation of 177 Bothwell Street, ahead of its delivery next year.
“Factoring in what we know about the disease so far, our review has focussed on a number of aspects of the development, particularly people’s physical interaction with the building, along with the use of technology and amenities.
“As we come to know more about the disease, other enhancements may be incorporated.”