COMMENT | Flexible working tops list for wellbeing

Martin O'Rourke SmallEmployee wellbeing is too often overlooked, but our recent study found that even small changes can have an impact, writes Martin O’Rourke of Birchwood Park.

Our team’s study at Birchwood Park found that 66% of employees still feel companies don’t currently do enough to address mental health issues at work, demonstrating that work still needs to be done by employers.

The majority (88%) of respondents felt that even the smallest of changes brought into the workplace would be beneficial.

Those surveyed listed more flexible working hours (86%), mindfulness sessions (58%), free fruit and healthy snacks (56%) and more green spaces (41%) as ways in which employers could look to improve the mood and motivation of their teams.

This is a concept that has been at the very heart of our ethos here at Birchwood Park for over 20 years: delivering more from a building than you’d necessarily expect. We look to be able to add to the daily lives of our occupiers and their employees through a regular programme of events and socialisation opportunities, dedicated Wellbeing Weeks throughout the year, retaining our green spaces and improving our landscaping in favour of better outdoor break out spaces, discounted gym memberships and on-site yoga sessions. Every business should enhance their social calendars and provide health and fitness focused initiatives.

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Birchwood Park in Warrington is home to 165 companies and 6,000 people

Wellbeing in a remote workforce

And whilst the pandemic has thrown scheduled events off kilter, businesses – including ourselves at the Park – have had to adapt quickly to new ways of working, including ensuring wellbeing policy is implemented from afar. As part of our initiatives, we’ve made sure that our usual wellbeing resources are not only accessible digitally, but enhanced with new schemes too.

In an exciting first for the team here on the Park, this summer we launched a new webinar series for workers, aimed at improving employee wellbeing and helping with the transition between home and office-based working. Delivered in collaboration with local mindset and lifestyle coach Emily Brinnand, it focused on simple tools and techniques to help calm the mind and body, and reduce anxiety while working in new or unfamiliar circumstance.

Due to the popularity of our first session, we’re planning for this to be the first in a series of many sessions welcoming guest speakers to discuss a range of topical subjects, each focused on enhancing people’s working lives whilst getting used to new working routines, as it’s clear there is a natural demand in this area which needs to be addressed.

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An attractive office environment combined with more flexible working policies have been proven to positively impact on business results

Embrace changes to your business

Change is a word which sometimes scares business owners, but shifting towards a more holistic approach to the ways in which they operate should be an exciting one to be embraced. A desirable office environment combined with more flexible working policies have been proven to have benefits to business results too.

Improving employee wellbeing policy not only attracts new employees into roles, but has a positive effect within the existing workplace too. Improved staff retention rates lead to a cohesive team structure and improved productivity within a team, and this coupled with a lesser demand for recruitment leads to cost-savings and business efficiency.

Recent research has found that a business is viewed as ‘behind the times’ if they offer no flexible working policy, putting off applicants, and that flexible working offered clear benefits to a business. Our study at Birchwood Park showed that 78% of businesses said an increased adoption of flexible working had a positive impact on their company’s performance and profitability.

So, with a happier workforce and clear business benefits, what better time than the start of a new decade to embrace change?Birchwood Park Logo

  • Martin O’Rourke is commercial director at Birchwood Park

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