27 Mar 2014

Medibank aims to thrive in new tower

Health insurer Medibank Private is putting its money where its mouth is by relocating Melbourne staff from six “sick” buildings to one new, healthy tower at Docklands this year.

The insurer is acting on the findings of a report that ­concludes a majority of Australian employees consider their workplace is a health hazard to their physical and mental well-being.

The report, Workplace Health: Workers’ Perspectives, commissioned by Medibank from Allen Consulting in 2012, has given rise to the insurer’s Thrive project, a $100 million endeavour to ensure its employees’ working amenities maximise good health. 

The keystone of Thrive is the building being developed by Cbus Property at 720 Bourke Street. The insurer will occupy almost 46,500 square metres of A-grade office space across 16 levels of the organic structure.

About 10 per cent of the building’s facade will be covered by plants growing from planter boxes on terraces and through trellises dotted around the tower, according to Thrive program director David Goldsworthy.  “The green, vertical walls will be watered by sophisticated irrigation systems and provide those within the building extra shade, and a variety of leafy views, instead of staring out onto another concrete tower,” he said.

Medibank has taken a 10-year lease at the building. 

Mr Goldsworthy believes that over that time, the insurer would have more than made up a return on a $100 million Thrive investment.

He said it would be a sustainable property, targeting a six-star Green Star and five-star NABERS rating.

If it stays on target, the edifice will be among only a few buildings in Australia to have achieved this level of energy efficiency and waste minimisation. Much of the ROI would come in the form of improved productivity and efficiencies from staff who were healthy, mentally and physically, as a result of a well-designed work space.

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