Just like their clients, the team at Wrest Park Enterprise have demonstrated a flexible and agile approach to creating a successful and workable business environment.
A new extension has increased the size of the serviced office business park by 30% and there are plans to have increased that again by the end of the year. The expansion was fuelled by a healthy take-up of office space from the day the centre opened in 2010, and no let-up in enquiries over the past few months.
Group Estates Manager David Taylor said: “Over the past few months businesses have had to adapt to new ways of working and new ways of thinking. For some, that has meant downsizing because staff are working from home; others don’t know what the future holds and don’t want to enter in to a long lease; some who have always worked from home may have had to find premises because other family members have been forced to do the same. Whatever their reasons, they find that the flexibility and easy terms we offer are the answer.”
Wrest Park Ltd. bought the Enterprise site in Silsoe, formerly an agricultural college, ten years ago. It offered 40 buildings over 28 acres, some of which were turned into workshops and warehouses, but one, Enterprise House, was immediately converted into managed office space.
Providing 10,000 square feet, available in sizes ranging from one to 40 desks, Enterprise House proved incredibly popular and within two years a second building, Capability House was opened to provide another 20,000 square feet of office, meeting rooms, coffee shop and breakout areas.
This month, an extension to Endeavour House has added another 10,000 square feet, of which ten offices are already reserved, and before the end of the year a purpose-built centre will provide an additional 22 offices.
David Taylor said: “We didn’t know at the start what the interest would be in a business centre when we opened in 2010 but it proved popular from Day 1. Our major selling point is that we provide a rural location, so no town or city centre commute or parking issues, but at the same time we are ideally placed just off the A6, close to Bedford and Luton and within 11 or 12 miles of the M1 and the A1.
“From the start it was important to make life as easy as possible for tenants. Being in a rural location meant investing in dedicated fibre connectivity so internet access is never an issue. Their rent includes a fully furnished office and maintenance, cleaning and security services, so it’s easier to budget, and after the initial three months, they move on to a month-by-month arrangement. What that means is that they can get on with running their business without any of the pressure.”
The benefits of Wrest Park have been brought into sharp focus over the past few months as David and his team have responded to the needs of tenants.
Social distancing measures were introduced across the site, including some innovative partitioning of breakout areas so that everyone using them can feel comfortable about taking a break from their desks alone or in small groups.
Similarly, office configuration can be adapted to allow a business to separate their space into a number of distinct units so that teams that need to work together can do so, without unnecessary contact with colleagues.
Meeting rooms are laid out according to socially distanced guidelines and adaptations have been made to facilitate hybrid meetings, so that users can organise a meeting with some physical presence and others joining the meeting online.
In the new building, a training room and presentation suite have been created with high-specification video conferencing equipment that also allows a presentation to be recorded to be forwarded at a later date to those who wish to see it.
David Taylor added: “Humans thrive on interaction and for a long time the business centre has been a space not only where business is done, but also where people from different companies get to know one another, share skills and work together. It’s important to keep that going, and I think that while working from home certainly has its place, most people want to be back in an office, with colleagues and all the benefits that brings.
“The past few months have left everyone with challenges but we like to think that we have listened to our tenants and have come up with a range of solutions that make it easier for them to get back to running their businesses the way they need to.
“Careful planning of space and the increased provision of virtual services have hopefully been a helping hand when they need it most.”
Find out more about Wrest Park Enterprise on 01525 306000 or visit www.wrestparkenterprise.co.uk.