Follow successful firms in offering exercise, expert speakers and even calling staff “guests”.
Given that the workplace is where the majority of us spend a huge part of our lives, it should come as no surprise that there is a growing bank of evidence showing that the office environment can have a substantial effect on wellbeing and productivity.
Recent statistics from Bupa found that 85 per cent of UK workers think that their employer has a responsibility to look after their health and wellbeing. In addition to this, 60 per cent admitted that, if they felt happy at work, they would be more productive – and over half would feel more focused.
And companies are doing more than ever before to meet this demand and to create a culture of positive health and wellbeing as a means of attracting talent, boosting efficiency and improving their bottom lines.
AHEAD OF THE GAME
Chiswick Park, an 8,000-strong business community in West London, is an early pioneer of this approach. The Enjoy-Work estate management team operates an innovative business model based on the idea that, if people enjoy work, they will be more productive – thus benefiting companies, shareholders, employees and even wider society.
Over the last decade, the business park has attracted some of the biggest brands in the world, including Pernod Ricard, Disney, Discovery, PepsiCo, Starbucks and Tullow Oil, who have bought into the Enjoy-Work ethos in order to provide their employees with an environment which inspires, stimulates and enables them to reach their maximum potential.
HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY LESSONS
A big part of wellbeing is making people feel valued, and this can be achieved by providing small personal touches to enhance the working day – in much the same way as the hospitality industry takes steps to make their customers feel special. At Chiswick Park, we foster this approach by talking about the employees based here as “guests” and focusing on “making life easier” for each individual. This is tailored to the needs of our guests and includes services such as prescription deliveries, reflexology, and car and bike maintenance.
As well as helping our guests achieve a better work-life balance, we also look to the hospitality sector for inspiration on workplace experiences. This can range from learning new skills such as playing the guitar or a new language, through to providing a forum for people with similar interests to come together. A good example of this is our HR Forum, which sees HR directors from across the Park meeting regularly to share best practice and discuss issues such as new pension rules and employment law.
Physical activity is an area which many consider an out of work activity, but increasing numbers of organisations are beginning to understand the importance of fitness and how this can boost energy levels at work. A wide range of on-site fitness classes that have something for everyone should be the ultimate goal – we’ve found that both yoga and blitz cardio sessions have proven equally popular as workplace stress busters. We have also tapped into the trend for providing tools for measuring physical health by offering services such as physiotherapy and bio-impendance tests.
As we all know, events are a great way to get people together in a social and informal setting. This type of positive, mood-boosting interaction can really help make a difference to the regular working week, and is worthy of some serious business investment.
This is exactly what we have done at Chiswick Park, where our Lord Rogers-designed parklands and central event plaza provide the ideal backdrop. In the past, we have hosted life-size table football tournaments, food festivals and guest speakers such as Sir David Attenborough. And as a result, we have created a community of like-minded, progressive companies which recognise the value of the workplace in recruiting and retaining the best staff.
Graham White is chief executive at Chiswick Park Enjoy-Work.
Less paper, fewer tables
We all know how tiresome filling out expenses forms can be. This globally-used app makes capturing receipts, tracking time or mileage, and expense reports easy as pie. Not only does it make life less paper dependent, but travelling suddenly becomes a breeze, with everything in one place, and the chunk of time you usually give over to expenses freed up.