Sentinel Group Australia has been ahead of the pack in relocating its Brisbane CBD headquarters to provide staff with workspace and amenities that are more accommodating and compliant with the COVID-19 environment, says executive chairman and chief investment officer Warren Ebert.

The leading commercial real estate investment trust (REIT) moved its 90-strong Brisbane workforce earlier this year to a larger floorspace more suited to ensuring COVID safety in the 26 level Commonwealth Bank Building at 240 Queen St in the Brisbane CBD’s ‘Golden Triangle’.

Mr Ebert said in Sentinel Group’s previous office building maintaining proper social distancing standards was difficult and a bigger area with less density was needed to provide staff with collaborative workspace offering greater flexibility and more COVID friendly, top-of the-line amenities.

He said Sentinel Group was glad to have made the move particularly with recent reports that up to 13,000 Queensland public servants could be on the move in the Brisbane CBD with major local and state government employers reviewing their future workplace office needs to be COVID compliant.

“There are government departments that are still keeping their staff working from home because they do not have adequate space in their current locations,” Mr Ebert said.

“Large organisations looking to relocate over the next 12 months will have an impact on the Brisbane CBD office leasing market, so I am glad that Sentinel was ahead of the pack in upgrading our accommodation and organising the lease deal and fitout last year.”

The new headquarters of Sentinel Group in the A-Grade office tower at 240 Queen Street cover approximately 1450 sqm on levels 25 and 24, with all staff and departments occupying level 25 in an open-floor setting and the majority of the Group’s boardrooms on the lower floor.

“We are loving this new office as it also provides an opportunity to enhance our company culture by having all sections of the staff and each of our divisions in the one workspace, whereas in the previous building we were spread over two floors.” Mr Ebert said.

“Not only are we able to socially distance staff at their workstations but the board and meeting rooms and amenities such as the lunchroom enable us to provide a fully COVID compliant facility and greater flexibility.

“The ground floor lobby at 240 Queen Street is outstanding and the lift services offer our staff fast, direct access to our two floors.”

CBRE head of office leasing Mark Curtain, who brokered the deal, said Sentinel’s new offices at 240 Queen Street were an excellent example of how a post-pandemic workplace can be designed to bolster collaboration and engagement, and also meet Work-Safe guidelines to ensure staff safety.

“COVID has given us the opportunity to challenge conventional workplace thinking and introduce new spaces and strategies to engage employees and make it attractive for staff to spend the majority of their working week in an officed-based environment,” he said.

“From early on in the COVID disrupted work situation, it has been our view many companies will need more office space, not less. It’s clearly more important to create a more productive and engaging workplace than focus on small reductions in overall footprint.

“Undoubtedly, culture and staff development thrive when we come together and connect face to face. Strategic workplace design and the supporting operations policy is a key tool to drive overall business performance”.

Established in 2010, Brisbane-based Sentinel has a total national portfolio of more than 50 retail, industrial, office, land, tourism infrastructure and agribusiness assets with a total value in excess of $1.19 billion.