This is the second of four articles from independent UK law firm Burges Salmon LLP considering issues that will shape the future of the headquarter office and which are identified in our research paper: 'The Future of Corporate Headquarters: Is London's Dominance Waning?'. You can follow the discussion on the future of the headquarter office by using #futurehq on Twitter.
Yoga, pilates, French-speaking (basic), sewing bees…all pastimes safely confined to the local library on a Monday night, right? Umm no actually… wrong…they’re all activities happening right now in an office near you. 'Nose to the grindstone', 'lunch is for wimps'…now as outdated as Gordon Gekko’s striped braces – all over London and beyond employers are embracing the concept of employee wellbeing. And it makes good business sense to do so.
Stress and mental health issues remain a constant as top causes of long-term employee absence and, as any HR professional will affirm, managing long-term sickness absence is one of the most expensive and disruptive employee issues to deal with. So it follows that an employer that takes positive steps to help reduce the pressures on its employees by improving both their mental and physical wellbeing stands to benefit. As employee engagement and productivity increases, so staff turnover will go down.
A focus on employee wellbeing is also a powerful recruitment tool. With London housing costs forcing people into increasingly long commutes, the prospect of working for an employer that recognises and takes active steps to offset the negative effects of this, is highly attractive. A comfortable, well-designed working environment with the opportunity to participate in activities that the commute would otherwise rule out makes for a winning combination.
Health and wellbeing is one anticipated change to the headquarter office over the next five years. If an employer fails to take heed it could find itself out in the cold.