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Places People Prefer

The Office
Agenda

The Office Agenda brings together our extensive insight into what makes an office that people – from employees to the board – prefer.

Places People Prefer

The Office
Agenda

Wellbeing

Leading by example

A recent office refurbishment is allowing British Land’s workforce to flourish

The transformative power of an office space is something we know a lot about, so when it came to refurbishing our own headquarters, it was an opportunity to demonstrate leadership and create a showcase workplace where our people could flourish.

Our light, bright, collaborative working space is a huge hit with our workforce; 99% of employees now rate British Land’s office as an enjoyable space to work in.

“Everyone’s responded really positively to it, you can almost feel it,” says Matthew Webster, Head of Wellbeing and Futureproofing at British Land. “We now have a workplace that reflects our culture and values – a dynamic space that fosters collaboration and social interaction while allowing opportunity for concentration and isolation when required.

“Alongside that, we’ve designed a space that positively impacts on our people’s sense of wellbeing – a working environment with more natural light and that is sympathetic to the innate human need for a connection to nature.”

The wow factor

Many elements of the makeover addressed employee feedback about what they’d like to see in their ideal office. “Based on feedback, we were able to improve welfare facilities in terms of storage, changing rooms, larger fridges and better coffee machines,” says Webster. “Then there are some ‘wow’ factors, the most noticeable being the insertion of an open staircase from the third floor through to the fifth. That has made a big impact in a number of ways; increased daylight through our space, more social encounters, better movement between floors and increased physical activity.”

The recent staff survey revealed that 95% of British Land employees now believe our office has a positive impact on workplace culture, compared to only 55% before the refurbishment. The welfare features have been well received, too, with an additional 32% of employees now saying our office supports their wellbeing.

Webster explains: “It works both ways: a healthier, happier, more engaged and more social workforce is also a more productive, more creative, more innovative one – all vital ingredients of successful businesses.”

Our employees certainly feel the makeover is good for business; 99% say the new office has a positive effect on our corporate image, while 97% are proud to bring visitors to York House.

Details make a difference

Even the smallest details make a big difference to employee satisfaction and wellbeing. “Materials choice is key – we’ve gone to a much more natural and organic palette, because we know connection to nature can make people feel calmer, less stressed, able to think clearer and make better decisions,” says Webster.

“Then there’s the mix of workspaces, from standard desk units all the way through to collaborative working spaces, standing-up desks, different types of meeting rooms… Gone are the days of spending all our time at our desks or having meetings in generic environments. Providing a variety of working environments gives people the freedom to choose the best place for the task in hand, and it can facilitate those unscheduled conversations that sometimes lead to the best ideas.”

Staff now rate the finish of the office as 4.9 out of 5, while the new mix of task-based spaces earns a respectable 4.1.

“We spend 90% of our time indoors and five days a week at the office space,” Webster concludes. “If you can create space to make people feel happier, healthier, more creative and inspired while they are here, and make it a sociable, collective, open space, then the company that owns that space will be a better place to work.”

Read more of Matt Webster’s thoughts on the refurbishment

Tagged in: BRAND, FACILITIES, WELLBEING

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