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“Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough
It isn’t fit for humans now,
There isn’t grass to graze a cow
Come, bombs, and blow to smithereens
Those air-conditioned, bright canteens,
Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans
Tinned minds, tinned breath”
An interesting insight by John Betjeman in 1937 and here we are in 2012 and we realise even more how important a healthy work environment is for our employees and ultimately our business profitability. Research shows that happy employees are more committed, more creative and more productive. A work place that stimulates and refreshes its occupants encourages them to work harder, stay longer and have better ideas.
The individual needs access to healthy, nutritious food and opportunities to exercise during their working day. There needs to be opportunities for developing social connections, teamwork, communication and group challenges.
Environment – this can relate to both the internal and external office environment. Improving your physical office space with cleanliness, plants, furniture and natural light can help the internal element. The external environment is very much dependent on your offices location.
Reduced absenteeism, increased retention, higher productivity and better communication can all result in increased profitability. A study of FTSE 100 employers found that those taking active steps to improve well-being at work enhanced financial performance by a massive 10% – a number not to be taken lightly.
Top of the list on ORC Internationals worst places to work in the world is Lagos, Nigeria.
Lagos not only has a severe crime problem and extremely poor infrastructure, the city has inadequate housing, sanitation, and medical facilities. Moreover, according to ORC, “the risk of being caught up in sectarian violence is another concern.” Lagos represents the opposite of a happy healthy work environment.
Closer to home is Slough and the extract of the poem by John Betjemen just about summed up people’s feelings of working on the Slough trading estate. Glum images come to mind of offices nestled amongst a concrete jungle with no windows and no green space nearby.
There are a couple of business parks that really stand out as healthy and happy places to work in.
Chiswick Park was the first office development in London to embrace the idea that people are more important than bricks and mortar. Their Enjoy Work initiative led to the park being named the UK’s Healthiest Workplace in the 2007 Yakult Healthy Workplace Awards.
To achieve that healthy, happy work environment there is an onsite gym and a swimming pool providing a workout for both mind and body. A Dedicated Lifestyle Team take care of those things that are deeply dull yet utterly essential – like arranging your dry cleaning, and groceries. And there’s free umbrellas on rainy days and deckchairs and rugs on sunny ones.
To enhance the organisational element of that happy environment, the park puts on guest speakers, evening classes and more. Activities such as Bonfire Night and intercompany sports leagues help give everyone on site the chance to mix and contribute to that community feel.
To enhance the external environment, Chiswick Park is organised around a lake instead of a car park. People look out onto greenery and water instead of a sea of steel.
Closer to home, we have Ransom Wood – an office park within 70 acres of natural woodland. Ransom Wood is an ideal business setting for companies that want to harness its benefits and create that happy healthy working environment.
This unique office park is all about its woodland environment and great efforts are made to constantly enhance it for the benefits of the many businesses on site. In fact, once an organisation moves to Ransom Wood, they tend to stay for a very long time.
The individual element of the healthy work environment is well looked after at Ransom Wood. Picture this…… you’ve been staring at your computer screen for far too long or been in a stressful meeting and you begin to lose concentration. You need a break to re-energise. At Ransom Wood, this is the time to leave the office and go for a 10 minute walk in the surrounding woodland. You return to the office refreshed feeling more productive and relaxed.
Earlier we touched on the importance of healthy food. It’s also important for your employees to get out of the office at lunchtime to revitalise. Ransom Wood offers an onsite restaurant, Forever Green, that caters for all the businesses on site. The restaurant has a keen eye for healthy food and benefits from its own allotment and apple orchard.
Healthy employees result in less sick days and less associated costs and at Ransom Wood the average number of sick days is considerably lower than the national average
The organisational need for a great work place is enhanced at Ransom Wood through the creation of outdoor meeting spaces, regular events such as murder mystery nights and conservation projects. Businesses on the site will soon have the opportunity to get to know each other through woodland conservation projects. After a day’s hard work in the woods, volunteers will celebrate with a nice meal at Forever Green and live music from a local band.
And why not embrace a new concept – the Ransom Wood walking meeting. Next time you need to brainstorm something, take a walk in the woods with your team and you may be surprised by the amazing ideas you come up with.
If you’re looking to relocate Ransom Wood currently have some opportunities available to join their community. Why not give them a call on 01623 675304 and come and see what we’re they’re about.
So we’ve looked at some examples of office parks that embrace the business environment, to finish let’s look at a positive internal work environment.
At the headquarters for Google European Engineering in Zurich they have meeting ‘pods’ in the style of Swiss chalets, fireman poles to allow easy access between floors and a slide to ensure that you can get to the canteen as quickly as possible.
The unconventional design of the offices represents a free flow of information through all parts of the company and a heavy emphasis on the idea that work and play can co-exist. Other areas include a games room, a library in the style of an English country house and an aquarium where over-worked Googlers can lie in a bath full of red foam and stare at fish.
So returning to John Betjeman’s poem – what foresight he had in 1937 in recognizing the impact of the work environment on its people. Take a look at your office situation to see how you can make it into the best environment you can so your employees can benefit from a healthy, happy work place and you can enjoy a healthy business profit.
Published: 23rd May 2019
There is a special connection at Ransom Wood to Night Jars – learn a bit more about this in our Nightjar article.
Published: 14th January 2013
Say hello to our old man of the woods. Isn’t he great! He was carved for us by Mark Butler who has won several prizes for his work.
Love this place
We rent an office here and it’s just such a lovely place to drive into everyday
Still love to walk around. I used to live in the big house at the top of the drive, it was Oak House then and I nursed at Ransom Hospital , Byron Ward which was on the left side of Ransom Hall car park. Oak House used to be Sisters accommodation. I think the main chef lived upstairs when I lived there and just me downstairs mostly. I loved it but had to keep my kitchen door closed because of the squirrels. Loved looking down the drive out of my bedroom and lounge windows, beautiful in Autumn and when it snowed, I worked at Ransom Hospital until it closed in 1987. Wonder why Oak House was later named Ash House? Lovely dining at Forever Green in the grounds whilst I reminisce.
Absolutely spot on as regards setting up a virtual office. Really friendly and helpful reception staff, with onsite meeting rooms available if needed. Very pleased.
Great place for taking pets a walk, lovely cafe with meeting rooms.
A great place
Brilliant place, they have all sorts of businesses there. A cafe, hypnotherapy, hypnopuncture as well many others. Worth a drive up just to see what's there. Furthermore, it's in lovely surroundings.
Just go there and walk for miles! Beautiful views from strawberry hill too.
Great place,hidden away
Set in beautiful woodland.. a very relaxing place to work.
Very tranquil here, feel at real ease could get lost in my own thoughts
Lots of meeting rooms. Follow signes not sat nav to find entrence as its moved. Plenty of parking.
Nice business offices and restaurant
Love it. Great setting, and reasonable rents.