In a world where people have the choice of where to work – whether that’s in the office, at home or in a café – it is now more crucial that office operators demonstrate value to their customers. 

Ciara Keeling

Ciara Keeling

Wellness is an integral part of that – offering a forward-thinking workspace helps people to be healthier, happier and more productive.

Health and wellbeing is not simply about offering fruit bowls and volunteering days. It now filters through all elements of employer brand and culture as well as having a direct impact on the wider community.

We know that offering a more comprehensive wellbeing package helps to create a more engaged and motivated workforce who want to spend time in the office despite being able to work from home or anywhere else, and also boosts productivity and supports a positive business culture. And with the war for talent having intensified across the economy in recent months, it is also what can help businesses to stand out from the crowd and attract the best people in a competitive market.

Creating human-centric, socially inclusive spaces that place people and wellbeing at the heart is the foundation of our approach. Well-designed spaces with supporting community events and health and wellbeing strategies also add to the wider culture.

In 2019, we launched our Pioneer programme, focusing on six core pillars in office design: technology, sustainability, wellbeing, amenity, biophilia and art. This is based on a deep understanding of the need to create dynamic, innovative and healthy workplaces for our customers to help them thrive professionally and personally.

The office is no longer just a place people go to work; it encompasses so much more

This approach means introducing innovative features throughout every aspect of the office, such as sleep pods at Bloc and high-tech lighting that matches the body’s circadian rhythms at 111 Piccadilly.

And through Spark by Bruntwood Works, we partner with external providers to support our customers with all the pillars of health and wellbeing – whether that’s exercise, mental and financial health or nutrition – offering workshops, adviser sessions and webinars.

With most employers now offering some degree of hybrid working, offices need to be places that encourage people to come in as much as possible and to offer amenities you can’t get at home. This applies not only to large corporations but also freelancers. There is no longer a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to the office.

But it’s not just inside the office that counts. Transforming communal and outdoor areas into places where people can mix up their workspace, or disconnect for a while, can also help to strengthen the sense of community.

Last year, we launched a roof terrace at the Lancastrian in Old Trafford to enhance collaboration and work-life balance for customers. And across our wider portfolio, we use communal spaces for fitness classes, artistic performances and pop-up restaurants and shops.

The office is no longer just a place that people go to work; it encompasses so much more – whether it’s providing a healthy environment or satisfying people’s social needs, wellbeing sits firmly at the heart of this new approach.

Ciara Keeling is chief executive of Bruntwood Works