Staff WellbeingIn a new study released by Savills and the British Council for Offices (BCO) almost, half (46%) of office workers think the office has a positive effect on their mental health. Another 40% believe it also has a positive impact on their physical health.

The report titled What Workers Want, polled 1.132 office workers across the UK to understand what factors they look for in the workplace, and what extent they believe their current environment satisfied those requirements.

Those working in a private office, rather than an open-plan office were more likely to say it had a positive impact on their mental health (50% opposed to 45 per cent).

The survey also asked about physical health. 40%, said the office had a positive effect on their physical state, with 30% saying it has a negative effect.

Staff WellbeingStaff WellbeingWhat Workers Want highlights the strong correlation between having control over one’s working environment and mental and physical health. Workers who say they had little or no control over their environment are far more likely to say the environment has a detrimental impact on both their mental and physical well-being.

Savills also compared respondents’ satisfaction with the light, temperature, and views in their office. Those who were dissatisfied with their office temperature reported that the office had a negative impact on their physical health. The same was also true for their mental health.

So how can your business create a positive and engaging environment for its staff? You can find our top tips below.

1. Ask your employees how you’re doing

Carry out a simple survey in consultation with your staff. This can help establish what they like and what could be improved in their environment and within the business. The survey can also incorporate wellbeing related questions. Survey Monkey provide a great template to create your questions and correlate your answers. Feedback can be implemented into a strategy for the business moving forward.

2. Make adjustments to the businesses workspace

Based on the above, your business may feel it’s important to make some changes to the layout of the working area. Departments may be better suited next to each other to encourage communication, and simple aesthetics like adjusting lighting, temperatures, including white noise systems for noisy areas of the workspace could be all you need to improve the environment.

These factors can also be assessed by a workspace analyst, through a time and space analysis. Rapport’ are on hand to advise you on this specific service should this be of interest.

Our signature process, the BALANCED Space Audit – in collaboration – with our Workspace Analyst Lily Bernheimer, is used to assess and improve space and organisational performance as well as employee wellbeing and satisfaction. You can read more about this here.

3. Re-design

Rapport has worked with many clients in the re-design of their current workspace including;

Shepherds Bush Housing Group – 20,000sqft

Maritz Research – 15,000sqft

UK Broadband – 22,000sqft

Rosebery Housing Association – 6000sqft

This is an opportunity to utilise current space more effectively and implement areas in the space that make the environment a more proactive space to work in. Alterations might include additional breakout areas with meeting pods that ensure no building work needs to take place.  The implementation of showers, for example, may encourage staff to cycle to work or get some exercise on their lunch break.

At the beginning of a redesign or relocation project Rapport’ often work with HR teams and staff to form workshops. We utilised this process during our project for The Shepherds Bush Housing Group.

4. Relocation

If the current workspace and building no longer serves the business’s needs, then relocating might be an option. It might be that the business has downsized or expanding and the current space is no longer suitable. Equally, your lease may be coming to its end, and the business feels it’s time for a fresh start.

So where do you start? Appointing an independent project manager to lead the process can leave your HR and Financial teams to get on with their job roles in hand. We work with commercial agents to help you seek the right property for the business and have a full understanding on the legalities of a commercial lease process. We also have a range of designers and relationships with contractors to lead the project in the right direction in close consultation with your business.

Offering an open book tender process, we also ensure costs are transparent throughout the whole process; this avoids hefty markups, and your project budgets are maintained.

If you’d like advice on your current or future workspace projects, you can contact us on – 01252 712590 or email us at; info@rapport-solutions.org.uk

View our full portfolio of work.

Rapport’s business blog; shortlisted in the 2016 Surrey Digital Awards.

 

As we enter an uncertain economy since the UK Brexit result, it’s a time when UK organisations need to adopt a more creative thought process and adapt their business models.

We reported in the run-up to the EU referendum that demand for office space was still high in Q1. It remains to be seen how industries and the economy will fair in the coming years as we leave the European Union, but what’s certain is the need for strategic thinking.

In particular, research published by JLL in April the tech and Media (T&M) occupiers were abundant, and more specifically start-ups. And it’s not just tech and media. There are many entrepreneurs in design, creative, and recruitment, building up small businesses within the UK. This will only grow in years to come and naturally, these companies have much smaller headcounts than traditional and often established businesses.

In a crucial and influential time for landlords and fit-out companies, this is the perfect opportunity to challenge the traditional letting mythology. To analyse how the industry is changing not only now but in the future. It’s a time to consider how these changes can, in fact, be beneficial to current letting methods.

T&M Facts

  • There are now 45,000 more tech businesses in London now than there were four years ago
  • Between 2013 and 2015, T&M companies leased 7.9m sq ft of London office space – nearly double the amount of space taken by T&M occupiers in the three years to 2012.
  • That said, in 2012 – 2015, the amount of space T&M companies signed up for reduced significantly. Media companies took 22% less space on average, and tech companies took 44% less space.

In the last figure, the reduction in space being occupied has been driven by smaller tech companies and start-ups looking for smaller offices and greater flexibility. Companies like Wework have driven that change, and it’s up to landlords to tap into the market as co-working spaces and more flexible ways of working begin to shape the future for many businesses.

Global giants like Google and Facebook have much larger head counts, but as mentioned previously that volume of space isn’t as necessary for companies starting out, and long leases are an unnecessary risk to small companies whose future development is uncertain in the earlier stages. That doesn’t mean that start-ups don’t crave the community feel though that gives them an opportunity to mix with other small business in the spirit of collaboration. It’s shared spaces like Bethnal Green Ventures and Wework who are bucking the trend for shared space, and the smarter landlords are tapping into this trend.

The future of Incubator space

The capital is already seeing growth in tech incubator/accelerator office space introduced to the market, in addition to the co-working space.

Examples include Canary Wharf Group (CWG) who set up Level39 three years ago on one floor of Canada Square. It was so successful that the concept was rolled out to two further floors with approximately 200 start-ups occupying around 80,000 sq ft.

Up and coming plans to deliver an 110,000 sq ft FinTech incubator space in Wood Wharf are also in progress. John Garwood group company secretary at CWG, says that the company launched the space to try to diversify the occupier base at Canary Wharf that’s been traditionally frequented by financial services companies.

Garwood believes the secret of its success is the campus ethos it embodies.

“What it offers is a community, a community where you can start out as a little idea and grow into a company,” he elaborates. “As your company grows you can go through the different layers of the facility that we offer and end up with an office space.” These layers feature a range of different options including hot-desking or fixed desks, with prices starting at £325 a month for a hot desk membership. “Flexibility is key with young start-ups,” He explains.

“They can’t commit to long leases because they don’t know what the future is going to hold. As a landlord, we can offer them a smooth transition from one bit of space to another so that they can grow at Canary Wharf.”

Up and coming London areas

Serviced office provider TCN based in Brixton’s Piano House – a 40,000 sq ft Victorian warehouse in Brixton is another creative hub that offers a range of options from a single desk in a co-working environment to grow and larger, more traditionally sized offices.

“For the past ten years, demand in Brixton has been predominantly for space for two to 10 people, with less demand for spaces of more than 2,000 sq ft,” says Richard Pearce, chief executive officer at TCN.

“As the tech revolution has taken hold in the last two years, demand has been for larger spaces for growth companies. “We believe this is down to the changes in working trends driven by tech, along with the expense of central London offices, lack of suitable size and the style of space.”

At Piano House, TCN holds break-out spaces, a café and restaurant facilities, and is also offering tenants the chance to get involved in events and collaborative opportunities that enable them to network and grow as businesses.

This kind of mentality is something we expect forward thinking landlords to be providing in the future and will begin to migrate out into other areas of London, outside of the capital.

The tech, media and creative industries have been pro-active regarding flexible working arrangements and finding new ways to utilise space. Landlords are beginning to be more relaxed too, offering flexible desk lets. We see this flexible approach as an important step in utilising larger buildings across the capital where floors may be sitting empty.

Landlords in London have the opportunity to repurpose buildings and offer more flexibility to increasingly more flexible companies in development. And while this change may require a level of initial investment and more strategic planning – what landlords can gain in return is hugely beneficial.

Shaun Simons, director in the city fringe team at Colliers International, explains:

“We encourage landlords to put serviced office or co-working businesses into their buildings,” says Simons. “If you’ve got ten floors in a building, it’s seen as a positive among tenants to have serviced office or co-working space because that gives tenants growth space within a building. Tenant behaviour has changed and as a result, buildings have had to adapt. Everyone is trying to do the same thing, but the buildings that are the most authentic are the most successful.”

We believe, there is a huge opportunity for landlords in the rapidly growing tech, media and start-up sector. An opportunity for those who offer the right type of space and level of flexibility to ensure all office space is fully utilised. As specialists in workspace analysis, Rapport’ work with landlords and organisations directly within multi-occupied office space.

If you’d like advice on your current or future workspace projects, you can contact us on – 01252 712590 or email us at; info@rapport-solutions.org.uk

View our full portfolio of work.

Rapport’s business blog; shortlisted in the 2016 Surrey Digital Awards.

2016 Surrey Digital Awards

According to a new report by office furniture manufacturer Steelcase, office workers in the UK do not value their company culture as much as workers in other countries.

It’s a valid observation when you consider the growth of remote working and rising numbers of people working independently with a variety of companies on a freelance or consultant basis.

So how can companies engage with and get the best out of their full-time staff and freelancers? Being a valued member of staff and implementing wellbeing initiatives appears to be the answer. Although workplace wellbeing is subjective to the type of organisation, its current culture and what’s already in place, people do feel more engaged and loyal when they are valued.

With that in mind, here are our top ten workplace wellbeing initiates that when implemented gradually can enhance any organisations culture, it’s environment and the happiness and longevity of your staff.

Pretty offices1. Utilising the senses 

By introducing scent, colour and plant life into the workspace environment, you can make the workplace a more positive place to work. Dr Chris Knight and his fellow psychologists at Exeter University concluded that employees were 15% more productive when workspaces are filled with a few houseplants. So go ahead, and encourage nature into the workspace, like flowers on reception or how about a living wall in the office like those from Biotecture?

Music can increase dopamine in the brain increasing productivity. Although music isn’t for everyone and can distract those working on trickier financials in the workspace, others do find certain genres of music useful for increasing their creativity. By encouraging those who work better with music to listen via headphones or introducing music into areas like the reception you can improve the mood of your staff and visitors.

Beyond music, sound also has an impact on staff productivity. As more offices become open plan spaces, privacy can become an issue, especially when colleagues sit very close together to utilise space. With that in mind, consider installing a white noise machine to ensure sound privacy in breakout areas or conference rooms. Although these machines still generate noise, it’s less distracting than hearing co-workers chatting or having a meeting next to you.

2. Colour 

Scientific studies have shown that colours don’t just change our moods, they can affect our productivity.

In a study by the University of Texas, they found that grey, beige and white offices’ induced feelings of sadness and depression, especially in women. Men, however, experienced gloomy feelings in purple and orange workspaces.

Restful shades of green and blue can improve efficiency and focus. They also lend an overall sense of well-being.

Red, is and active and intense colour and increases the heart rate and blood flow upon sight. While mellow yellow, often viewed by psychologists as the shade of optimism, is energetic and fresh. It is believed it can trigger innovation and works well in environments where artists, writers, designers, developers and other creative professionals work.

Decorate your workplace with a vibrant medley of stimulating hues that increase output and spark creativity.

3. Celebrate Failure

You heard right! Accounting software company Intuit gives a special award for the Best Failure and holds “failure parties”. “At Intuit we celebrate failure”, explains co-founder, Scott Cook, “because every failure teaches something important that can be the seed for the next great idea.”

When people fear failure, they’re less likely to creative, innovative ideas or projects.

4. Furniture

Furniture that looks great but is ergonomically designed to aid posture and overall health and wellbeing play an important role in productivity. Equally, sitting down all day is incredibly bad for your staff and their health, so encouraging your employees to move about regularly and placing printer points in an area they will have to walk to, for example, can ensure they’re not causing long-term damage to their health.

Rapport’ source furniture through well-established furniture suppliers during a workspace redesign, relocation or on a stand-alone basis taking into consideration the health, wellbeing and needs of the organisation.

5. Daylight 

Natural light has a profound effect on productivity and work well-being. In a number of studies reduced air control and lighting has been shown to increase sickness levels of staff. So, it’s important to consider lighting aesthetics within your current space, in a future design or office space to maximise the environment.

Sensor technology – according to new research by US furniture giant Haworth sophisticated sensors in the workplace can deliver healthier and happier employees. Sensors can enable workspaces to shape-shift for maximum efficiency, alter temperature and lighting levels, and make adjustments when workers are getting bored or frustrated, thus increasing productivity the report finds.

6. Friendships – mentoring and induction

According to the Trade Journal, Millennials, who do not feel an emotional connection to people within their organisation will look elsewhere until they find it. 98% of Millennials in the UK say that developing close ties with co-workers is important to them.

If fact, having friends and close colleagues is so important it relates strongly to how committed to Millennial feels about business. Many also feel more connected to their organisation if it were not for the teams they were with.

Therefore, encouraging social activities, mentoring programs and even inviting new staff in to meet with their teams and boss before beginning a new job can make them feel part of a team from day one. 

7. Homeworking

Not all businesses can offer homeworking. It’s often subjective to the organisation and role needs. However, those that are in the position to do so should consider this as an opportunity to staff. Cutting down travel time and busy commute for staff once or twice a week for staff can help break up the week. Some, especially those who value concentration for specific tasks find this a great solution to being interrupted at their desks.

Homeworking isn’ for everyone, and there’s a level of trust involved, but for those who feel they’ll value from the work-life balance will enjoy this perk to increase their productivity.

8. Exercise

Regular exercise is hugely important to those who are desk-bound Monday to Friday. Although an office gym is not an option for many organisations, how about a subsidised gym membership with a gym close to the office that people can utilise at lunchtime, before or after work? Equally, encouraging people to get out of the office at lunchtime can increase oxygen to the brain and make them much more productive in the afternoon.

You will also find that many yoga and Pilates teachers will offer classes in the workplace.

The bike to work scheme is also an option you might want to consider.

9. Incentives 

Not in the traditional sense, but rewarding staff for their achievements can encourage better productivity. Friday night drinks or having a summer BBQ, as well as a Christmas party, can also help people to socialise, make friends and enjoy their working environment away from the day to day work.

Budgets permitting, monthly massages and fruit or lunch delivered once a week can offer some additional incentives to staff wellbeing.

10. Personal development

Of course, if an organisations’ work/life balance is not addressed then most of the above becomes redundant. We believe that organisations should provide a balanced environment; that encourages staff to ‘achieve’ with personal development strategies to delivers a culture that will make Monday mornings just that little more bearable for all.

 

If you are interested in working with Rapport’ you can contact us on – 01252 712590 or email us at; info@rapport-solutions.org.uk

View our portfolio of work.

Rapport’s business blog; shortlisted in the 2016 Surrey Digital Awards.

2016 Surrey Digital Awards

A new report and industry analysis by global real estate advisor CBRE show that demand for office space is still high in the first quarter of 2016. In fact, 3.1 million square feet of office space was leased by commercial organisations despite the possibility of the UK leaving the European Union.

The largest deal in that period saw Thomson Reuters acquiring 315,400 square feet in Canada Square in the Docklands.

Data from the report shows the current amount of office space under offer remains unchanged from the previous quarter at 3 million square feet. This figure is above the ten-year average of 2.8 million square feet since the beginning of 2014.

Other findings concluded;

  • Development has so far tracked with demand
  • Supply has increased by 2% over the quarter to3 million square feet. 17% below the 10-year average

Emma Craw, head of Central London Leasing at CBRE said: 

 ‘Between a weak outlook for global economic growth and an upcoming vote on EU membership, businesses have had to contend with a heightened level of uncertainty.  

‘That demand for office space has remained so resilient speaks volumes for London’s ongoing attractiveness as a global hub for those companies hoping to lay down roots or expand their footprint in the capital.’

Although the high level of space under offer is particularly encouraging, we anticipate a more subdued second quarter as the referendum vote gets closer. We will be on course for a rebound in leasing activity in the second half of the year provided the UK votes to remain in the EU.’

UK’s South East office market also makes strong start to 2016

When looking at the UK’s South East office market, there’s been a strong start to 2016 since 2008.

Latest research the latest M25 Offices report from Knight Frank since 2008 the report found the following;

  • Overall take-up in the South East Office market increased by 30% in the first quarter of 2016
  • 973,000 square feet of space was let or acquired during the quarter, 10% above the ten-year The high level of take-up ensured that overall supply remains historically low with availability across the South East markets 25% to 30% below the long-term trend.
  • Following record investment in 2015, the first quarter of this year has recorded £494 million of investment, which is consistent with the ten-year
  • The £325 million acquisition of SEGRO’s 972,000 square foot office portfolio in Slough by AEW was significant, not only the largest transaction in the South East market for two years, but also evidence of overseas purchasers becoming more active and widening their UK focus beyond Central London.

With stock levels improving in the second quarter of 2016 Knight Frank predict an increase in transaction volumes from the middle of the year and expect investment volumes to be close to £2 billion by the end of the year.

Emma Goodford, head of National Offices at Knight Frank, said that overall take-up in the first quarter has been encouraging, particularly set against increased market anxiety relating to the forthcoming referendum on the future of the UK in the European Union.

‘Although, some decision making will clearly be deferred until after the vote, we continue to see interest rise from a diverse array of occupiers with active named demand topping 6.6 million square feet. With this in mind, we are predicting strong rental growth in key locations, particularly where new development is accompanied by infrastructure and amenity improvements,’ she explained.

According to Tim Smither, head of National Offices Investment at Knight Frank, the weight of capital targeting opportunities in the South East remains robust.

‘While some investors pause to await the outcome of the EU referendum, others are seeing opportunity. In particular, high yielding, asset management opportunities remain keenly sought after, supported by a strong rental growth outlook for the region,’ he said.

 

If you are interested in working with Rapport’ you can contact us on – 01252 712590 or email us at; info@rapport-solutions.org.uk

View our portfolio of work.

Rapport’s business blog; shortlisted in the 2016 Surrey Digital Awards.

2016 Surrey Digital Awards

The human body is built to move, so it’s no wonder why sitting all day is bad for you.

Although back, numbness and joint pain are noted side effects of many people who work in sedentary desk jobs, general productivity is reduced when we sit down all day. This is due to the lack of oxygen reaching our brains, that reduces the blood flow to organs entering the blood stream through your lungs. For your brain to remain alert and active it requires both blood and oxygen. However, oxygen can be restricted when we’re hunched over our desks curving our backs with rounded shoulders.

Over time, sitting all day also puts huge amounts of pressure on the spine causing wear and tear on our spinal discs and muscles that stretch to accommodate the backs curved position.

Weight Gain

Did you also know that when you sit down all day you temporary deactivate lipoprotein Lipase? This is an enzyme that breaks down fats in the blood. Essentially, by sitting down all day you’re not burning as well as you do when you move.


So how can you reverse the negative effects of sitting all day? 

*Adopt a straight position and spine. This can lessen the impact to your lower back

*Ensure you get up and walk around at least every half an hour or so

*Alternating between both a standing desk with well postured sitting throughout the day, according to much research appears to be the best solution

*Make sure you organise regular DSE assessments with your HR team, especially if you’ve moved desks or you hot desk a lot to check eye levels and that your chair is suitable to your frame. Ergonomic chairs are fluid and flexible, so do get in touch if you’d like us to talk you through the best solutions for your organisation with our top furniture suppliers.

For our top tips for staying active in the office, click here

 

If you are interested in working with Rapport’ you can contact us on – 01252 712590 or email us at; info@rapport-solutions.org.uk

To view our portfolio of work click here.

Rapport’s business blog; shortlisted in the 2016 Surrey Digital Awards.

2016 Surrey Digital Awards