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Wimbledon Is Working

Time & Leisure Magazine

Firstly, thank you for the great response to my first blog. This month, while it remains challenging to find much to feel optimistic about globally, I have been encouraged in Wimbledon by our situation locally. Here are five recent encouraging experiences that have led me to feel that things are changing for the better here in the town centre: 

  1. The Return of the Business Community

    I recently attended a test event ahead of the official launch of Bombay Delight, a stunning new Indian Restaurant located opposite the Polka Theatre on The Broadway. The Love Wimbledon team has been delighted to work with Ajay, the Manager of the restaurant, from when it was still a building site several months ago and have made introductions for him into the wider Wimbledon community. Seeing so many people from Wimbledon’s business community reconnecting over a delicious Indian meal was a great reminder that bringing people together is an essential part of what BIDs can do – and a great new Indian restaurant is just what we need here. 

  2. Award-winning Culture and Hospitality

    Now in their tenth year, the Time & Leisure Food & Culture Awards are a really important recognition of excellence across South London. I was hugely impressed that 17 of our venues received awards and commendations from over 10,000 votes cast, including Diba (Local Restaurant of the Year), The Alexandra (Best Pub), New Wimbledon Theatre (Best Entertainment Venue) and Leon, who won the Wimbledon Town Centre People’s Choice Award, sponsored by Love Wimbledon. I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited the winners to give them their certificates, and it’s so rewarding to see their pride and delight in winning them. We are blessed with a really diverse and impressive food and culture offering in Wimbledon.

  3. A Safe and Thriving Night-Time Economy

    Last Friday, I went on patrol from 10pm – 2am with the Merton Street Pastors. The Street Pastors receive funding from Love Wimbledon and are a team of Christian volunteers who assist with our work in keeping the night-time economy safe, by offering reassurance and safety to those who need it, and making sure the town is cleared of glass bottles and other hazards. Our Footfall data suggests Wimbledon may have had its busiest Friday for at least 2 years last week, with all the pubs we visited reporting successful evenings. While spirits were definitely high, while we were on patrol we encountered no significant issues or trouble, which was reassuring to see. The Street Pastors are part of a sophisticated local intelligence network Love Wimbledon co-ordinates for the night-time economy with the Met Police and our hospitality businesses, which includes a Town Link Radio network and the Disc online intelligence system, which identifies and holds photographs of known individuals who could potentially cause trouble to ensure we remain on the front foot in dealing with such matters.

  4. The Piazza – Hearts and Markets

    For Valentine’s Day we tested our first Piazza activation of the year, with our large wooden heart installation. This proved to be a big hit, with partners, families and pet owners stopping to make the most of the opportunity to share their love. We were particularly impressed to discover that Storm Eunice couldn’t take it down either, it truly is an enduring love! Thanks to an overwhelmingly positive response to our heart installation, we have worked with the supplier to ensure a sustainable future for this feature and we have kept all the materials (plus opted out of polyester planting), which will be reused again on The Piazza next year.

    Following on from this, on Saturday we launched our first Market weekend of the year on The Piazza. I was there for the opening at 11am, and it was great to see so many loyal stallholders returning as well as new faces. Popular community choir, Rock Choir, attracted a crowd, creating a buzzy atmosphere for visitors. Markets are an important community asset. They create a public gathering place, provide economic support for small businesses and local craftspeople and crucially boost business for retailers in proximity. The Institute of Place Management reported in its Market Matters report that markets increase town centre footfall by up to 25%, and 55-71% of those attending also spend money in other shops while visiting. We have exciting plans for our monthly markets for the remainder of 2022, including a sustainability themed market, two Friday Food markets and integrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. I hope to see you there. 

  5. Sustainable Placemaking

    Last weekend I attended the Centre Court Shopping Centre exhibition, where Romulus, its new owners, outlined some of their ambitious plans around sustainability and supporting a circular economy. With beehives, a rooftop urban farm of 3 greenhouses, mushroom farming from coffee granules and rainwater harvesting, the new focus on sustainability at Centre Court is just part of the cutting-edge thinking being applied to deliver what will be a bold and transformative reimagination. We share this sustainable vision for Wimbledon Town Centre, which is why it’s one of our strategic priorities for the next five years.

Once again, I’ve enjoyed meeting more of our businesses this month, together with local councillors, our Member of Parliament and other stakeholders. Please do get in touch if we haven’t spoken yet – I am keen to meet as many levy payers as possible before we officially start our third BID term on 1 April 2022! 

Craig Hurring, CEO of Love Wimbledon BID.

CEO Update: February 2022

Hello, I thought that since I am new in this role, and with Helen leaving such a great legacy after 10 years in this position, it might be helpful for Love Wimbledon’s businesses to find out a bit more about me, and for me to keep you updated on some of the areas our BID delivery team is working on. I’ve been here in the post for almost one month now, and it has been a frantic start to 2022, with a lot for me to learn about the work the BID has delivered in the last 10 years in Wimbledon.

So, a bit about me. I’ve been working in BIDs now for almost five years, having previously worked in South Bank in Central London, where I was responsible for promoting South Bank as one of London’s leading destinations for both visitors and businesses. I played a key role in a renewal ballot that delivered a 99% Yes vote and believe very passionately in the importance of working with businesses to establish a thriving business community. Before this, I’ve worked in a number of different sectors, including financial services, education and professional membership bodies, building up a range of skills and experiences that I hope will set me in good stead for a role as rich, varied and interesting as this one! Outside of work my passions include music, books and sport and I have two daughters who keep me entertained and occupied.

While I am not a Wimbledon resident, I don’t live very far away at all, and I’ve been regularly using the town and visiting friends here for many years, seeing how it has changed in the process. I’m now looking forward to really understanding more about Wimbledon in this role. It’s clear that we face many challenges together as we begin to recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic, but I firmly believe Wimbledon has everything a leading 21st Century destination should offer its residents, visitors and businesses – thriving culture, new retail experiences, excellent transport links, a great range of hospitality choices, events and experiences, green spaces and a rich heritage. I am very keen as we begin to recover to explore how we make more of this moving forward.

We are now in the last two months of the final year of the BID’s second term. My focus until April will be on ensuring the team are ready for the start of the third term, and to prepare our budgets and plans for 2022, and the broader strategic vision for the 5-years ahead. I will discuss this with you as it evolves, and over the coming months will look in more detail at the core themes outlined in the Business Plan on which levy payers gave us an overwhelming vote of support back in October – to create better spaces, places and experiences; to promote and support your businesses; and to become greener and more sustainable.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone I have met, corresponded with or seen on a virtual call so far. I would love to meet as many businesses as possible before we begin the third term of the BID, but understand there are still challenges that our office sector in particular are addressing in terms of how they are working currently. Many thanks too to all those people I’ve met so far on my walkabouts with Tom, our Ranger, and I will be continuing these as often as I can, as there is no better way to understand the reality of how a town works than seeing how it deals with issues in its public realm, such as waste, graffiti and security. If you would like to meet personally though, please do get in touch – craigh@lovewimbledon.org

Thanks for reading, and here’s to better days ahead in 2022 – I’m really looking forward to working with everyone here in Wimbledon.

Craig Hurring,
CEO at Love Wimbledon

The Wimbledon Gift Card featured
on BBC London TV

 

The Wimbledon Gift Card has been featured on BBC London TV as having synergies with supporting the town centre throughout the Christmas shopping period. As the new work from home announcement came into effect on 13th December, it reported on the positive impact on Wimbledon Town Centre, including an interview with Elys, Wimbledon’s independent department store.

Love Wimbledon BID launched London’s first town centre gift card, ‘The Wimbledon Gift Card’, in late November to keep spending local and provide support to the high street businesses including theatres, shops, health & beauty and active enterprises in Wimbledon Town Centre.

www.wimbledongiftcard.com

Watch the video here.

 

For more information about The Wimbledon Gift Card or to register your business click here.

Support The Community This Christmas

We continue to be proud of Wimbledon businesses and their recognition of their role locally to help those in need in the community.  Efforts have continued on from the pandemic to help those who are struggling for food, shelter, clothing or access to technology for education.

Morrisons Community Champion has donated toys to Dons Local Action Group, food to YMCA Wimbledon, plus stationary and treats to Polka Theatre. Harnham HQ have continued their annual tradition of volunteering at Wimbledon Foodbank and local pubs The Alexandra and the Prince of Wales pub recently offered a meal for two and a bottle of wine for YMCA’s annual Star Awards on 18th November, to help celebrate the team’s hard work and dedication to their role over the last year.

There are a range of ways that your business and employees can get involved to help those who may struggle this winter, including donating to local charities and organisations, who work to reach those in need. See ideas below.

Shoebox Appeal

Until 11th December, South Western Railway staff are running their annual Shoebox Appeal in Wimbledon Station, collecting donations to support Merton Faith in Action (FiA) and their homeless drop-in centre. Fill a shoebox full of items that might be useful for those who are homeless, e.g. toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, scarves, hats and non-perishable foods, then drop off your box at Wimbledon Station ticket hall.

Toy Donation

The Entertainer are accepting donations of plastic children’s toys (must be in good condition) which will be rehomed via The Salvation Army and Morrisons Wimbledon has set up a Toy Donation Station at the front of the store where toys will be donated via Dons Local Action Group. The Community Giving Christmas Tree, beside the toy donation point, is another great way to donate.

Furniture, Food and Technology

Dons Local Action Group welcomes donations of laptops for young people who do not have access to the internet via a computer at home, as well as furniture and food items. Originally formed by fans of AFC Wimbledon during the Covid-19 pandemic, the charity continues to collect food and essential items outside Morrisons Wimbledon, to deliver to those in need in the local community.

Wimbledon Foodbank provides three days of nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people who are referred to them in crisis. They are encouraging the local community to purchase a supermarket gift card, which will allow a family to buy the essentials for a Christmas dinner. Check out their weekly update of the urgent items that are needed here and read more ideas about how you can help struggling families this Christmas here.

Other local organisations that could benefit donations or volunteering assistance include:

Free Business Sustainability Support via The Mayor Of London

Supported by the Mayor of London, the new Better Futures+ programme provides qualifying London SMEs with a business support package worth £1000’s to help them plan to get to Net Zero.

Take advantage of business acumen, peer advice and information to help your business grow, cut costs and save the planet. Build resilience, innovation and success into your business and help create a better future. Places are limited and will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis.

Support includes:

  • An eight-part webinar series designed to help you navigate your way to Zero Carbon or Net Zero.
  • Free dynamic carbon footprint measuring tool to track your carbon and cost reductions, with adaptable downloadable graphs to use however you like.
  • Collaborative workshops with specialist consultants and like-minded peers.
  • Peer learning groups happening bi-weekly
  • Half a day with a specialist consultant to review your net zero transition plans (only eligible for some businesses)

This support is only available to London-based businesses with at least two full time employees and a turnover between £100K – £43 million.

Pre-registration closes on 10th December. Click here to sign up.

Love Wimbledon launches London’s First Town Centre Gift Card

Love Wimbledon launches London’s First Town Centre Gift Card

Wimbledon has become the first town centre in London to have its own physical and digital dedicated gift card. Led by Love Wimbledon Business Improvement District (BID), the new Wimbledon Gift Card is designed to encourage local spend in Wimbledon and provide essential support to a range of high street businesses within the community.

Since re-opening, Wimbledon has seen the return of shoppers, dining out and office workers and footfall is increasing. The Wimbledon Gift Card enables a positive addition to the town centre by promoting the depth and range of businesses to the strong community, keeping spending local and providing a very attractive gift for businesses in the region to give to their staff this Christmas and throughout the year. It is a way for businesses to invest in our area while giving their staff a breadth of choice in where and how to spend their gift card.

Many well-known brands and independents have signed up to accept the physical and digital gift cards, including independent department store Elys, clothing and gift shops, health and beauty, restaurants, pubs and theatres. It is the perfect gift that supports Wimbledon town centre.

When it comes to buying gifts, convenience is a huge factor with 1 in 3 adults said to purchase gifts based on how soon they can get them. With The Wimbledon Gift Card, the convenience is there (a click away!) and the recipient of this gift can choose the option that suits them best – with cards delivered right to their doorstep.


Helen Clark Bell, Chief Executive of Love Wimbledon Business Improvement District, said it was the perfect time to introduce the Wimbledon Gift Card:

“After such a difficult time for businesses, and as part of our longer-term strategy to ReDiscover Wimbledon, we introduced the gift card as a positive initiative for both our businesses and our community. The Wimbledon Gift Card is a gift for all – it encompasses a wide variety of businesses, including theatres, restaurants and retailers. A gift card for all ages and all interests, it supports our high street, strengthening relationships between businesses and the amazing community we are lucky enough to have in the area.”

Sarah Mackie, General Manager of participating business – the Prince of Wales pub:

“We signed up to the new card as the last 18 months have been tough and the card reflects how the business community works together here to support the town centre. It really showcases the range and best of High Street businesses in Wimbledon. I wouldn’t mind being given one myself!”

Colin Munro, Managing Director of Miconex:

“As one of the first places in the UK to launch a physical and digital gift card, Wimbledon is leading the way in the digital high street revolution. GCVA (Gift Card & Voucher Association) data shows that whilst using gift cards in-store is still the most popular way to spend a gift card for over 54.8% of people, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital gift cards too with 38.4% making the switch. 21.6% of people redeemed their gift card via mobile in 2020, almost doubling 2019 figures. The interest in shopping local isn’t waning either, with 34.3% of consumers supporting local businesses through gift cards – the highest level since May 2020.”

The Wimbledon Gift Card is available to buy online as either a physical or digital gift card, from £5 to £500. Physical gift cards are sent to the recipient by post with an optional gift message. Gift cards are 100% compostable and arrive in an envelope printed on FSC paper. Digital gift cards are sent to the recipient as a text or email, with the balance being available to add to their digital wallet, so that purchases can be made in-store directly via phone.

Wimbledon Town Centre has around 250 shops, eateries, services and cultural venues. Situated in South West London, with the internationally renowned postcode SW19, it is the economic heart of the London Borough of Merton, with some quarter of a million residents. Around 15,000 people work in the town centre, creating a thriving and popular place to visit and work.

To find out more about the Wimbledon Gift Card, please visit www.wimbledongiftcard.com

To register your business for the programme and FAQs click here.

Future of Centre Court Shopping Centre

A neighbourhood hub for the future – Romulus plans the transformation of Wimbledon’s Centre Court Shopping Centre.

The transformation of the Centre Court Shopping Centre in Wimbledon is set to begin as owners and managers Romulus start the process of placing Centre Court back at the heart of Wimbledon’s local residents and businesses.

Following their purchase of the centre in April 2021, Romulus have committed to transforming the inward-looking, 1990s retail environment into a lively, open, space to meet friends or colleagues, shop, relax, eat & drink, work or work out.

These changes will be carried out while retaining the existing structure, ensuring that almost all existing businesses stay open and critically that the environmental damage from demolition is entirely avoided.

The process has now begun, with Romulus proposing a series of initial interventions that focus on four key areas:

  • Placemaking on Queens Road to create welcoming, green and bright places designed around pedestrians. This will include a new community entranceway.
  • A new central courtyard with a retractable roof that opens up on sunny days.
  • Improvements to the existing entrances that include a new art installation, which will brighten up the main Broadway entrance.
  • A mix of new dynamic uses to cater to the demands of local residents including new shops, gym, workspaces, restaurants, bars and more.

CGI’s of proposed Umbrella Sky and enhanced food/drink experiences with more outdoor spaces

Combined, the measures outlined will start the evolution of the Shopping Centre from a centre that is half-empty to a new dynamic hub that caters to the needs of the people of Wimbledon. In order to deliver these changes, a series of planning applications will be submitted to Merton Council over the course of this month.

Following on from these, in November, Romulus will be speaking to the local community about possible further measures that would help to continue the process of diversifying and modernising Centre Court. Have your say and detail what you think the future should look like for Centre Court.

Alex Woolf, Strategy Director at Romulus, added:

“We are excited to be proposing a number of improvements to Centre Court that will begin to enhance the experience for visitors and businesses alike. This is the start of a journey that we want to take with the local community over the coming months. We know the deep affection everyone in Wimbledon has for their town centre and realise the important role Centre Court can play in its evolution.

By opening the centre up, improving pedestrian access from all sides and attracting new uses we believe our proposals can start to make the changes people want to see. We believe that the success of Centre Court comes from placing local residents and businesses at its heart and over the coming months we will consult with Wimbledon’s residents about other measures we could take as we seek to provide the leisure and retail experience that is currently missing in Wimbledon.”

Works will begin January 2022 and are estimated for completion in Autumn 2022.

YMCA Wimbledon Development Breaks Ground

On Friday 23rd July, YMCA Wimbledon held an exciting celebration to mark the beginning of works to redevelop the site, which was attended by local stakeholders and Councillor Eleanor Stringer, Joint Deputy Leader of Merton Council and Cabinet Member for Children and Education.

 

In December 2020, a resolution to grant consent for the redevelopment of YMCA Wimbledon at 200 The Broadway was approved by Merton Council’s Planning Committee. The proposals put forward by YMCA St Paul’s Group and their development partner, Thornsett, will allow for the delivery of a new state-of-the-art YMCA building, alongside an adjoining development of 135 new homes and two new commercial units at ground floor.

 

Redevelopment of the site will enable YMCA St Paul’s Group to continue their work in the borough, which has been ongoing for the past 150 years, and to deliver wider benefits to the community.

 

The current building requires urgent modernisation. The scheme will provide 121 hostel rooms with en-suite bathrooms and cooking facilities, to help give residents a better quality of life and support them back into independent living.

 

YMCA residents and the Wimbledon community will also benefit from new and improved, affordable facilities, including a gym, bigger studio space for fitness classes, a children’s area and brand-new YMCA café.

 

YMCA St Paul’s Group and Thornsett have since selected Neilcott – a regional contractor with over 50 years’ experience in the construction business and a member of the Considerate Constructors Scheme – to build the new YMCA.

 

Construction of the scheme will take place in phases, with Phase 1 works for the new YMCA building beginning shortly and expected to be completed by summer 2023. Phase 2 for the new residential development will commence subsequently and will take a further 2 years.

 

In the coming weeks, preliminary works will be undertaken to prepare the site for construction. Demolition of Tower Lodge will begin in August, followed by Olympic House in September. Local residents have been notified about this upcoming activity and a dedicated Construction Working Group is being established.

 

Commenting on the commencement of construction, Councillor Stringer said:

“I am delighted to be able to mark the start of a new future for the YMCA in the borough. It is exciting to see work begin to provide enhanced accommodation for vulnerable young people locally and to offer facilities that will benefit the whole community, as well as much-needed new homes.”

 

Richard James, CEO of YMCA St Paul’s Group said:

“This is an extremely exciting moment for YMCA St Paul’s Group, our residents and the local community, as we break ground on the new YMCA Wimbledon. Our vision is to create places where young people thrive and communities flourish and this new state-of-the-art YMCA building will enable just that. We’re grateful to the local residents, Merton Council, Thornsett, Neilcott and Councillor Stringer for their support of this important development.”


Bernadette Cunningham, Director of Thornsett said:

“Having engaged closely with the local community and Merton Council to secure planning permission, we are thrilled to now be commencing construction on this important development, which will deliver a new YMCA Wimbledon that can be enjoyed by the community for generations to come. Importantly, this has been enabled by the provision of the adjoining residential development, which will help to address an under-provision of homes suitable for first time buyers in the borough. After many years of hard work, we are delighted to be working together with YMCA St Paul’s Group and Neilcott to get this underway.”


To find out more, click here.

Flowers Can Talk

 

Flowers Really Do Talk!

We all love a flower, especially in Wimbledon Town Centre, and increasing the amount of planting is a great way to bring in life, colour, nature and biodiversity. But what if there was something different to a flower bed? What if the plants could grow from a lamppost? And what if the plants could tell you when they needed watering?

Business Improvement District Love Wimbledon thought we would give it a go, after local urban greening company Scotscape contacted us about their new LivingPillar™.

A new vertical LivingPillar™ has been created in Wimbledon Town Centre, acting as a trial,  the first of its kind in South London. Packed with petunias, 84 of them and very much part of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships colour theme, the new Living Pillar™ has an irrigation system which runs on solar power using a high efficiency solar panel (at the top of the pillar) to recharge the systems battery source. Better still, it features a monitor which enables water management remotely via an App, whereby the plants are reporting when they are about to run out of water as the tank becomes empty. Scotscape monitors this and when the plants need some water and the reservoir needs topping up, it gets done! The technology ensures zero water is wasted, as any excess irrigation water is recycled.

Helen Clark Bell CEO of Love Wimbledon commented:

‘We initially set out to improve the neglected flower bed outside Evans Cycle so worked with Merton Council to get the wooden bench refurbished and the retaining wall repointed. Scotscape approached us and offered to overhaul the bed, providing new plants for the flowerbeds. We had heard of Scotscape’s innovative lamppost solution; this was the perfect place to trial a Living Pillar™ in Merton. Future planting will include air scrubbing plants helping to improve the air quality whilst also making the town greener.  Where space is limited, horizontal planting provides a very different opportunity and where tree planting is restricted, planted posts and pillars offer a  space-saving solution as well as a visual treat.’

   
 During installation of the pillar

Angus Cunningham, CEO of Scotscape added:

‘Scotscape and Love Wimbledon have aligned thoughts on improving places and spaces through planting, By introducing sustainable planting and biodiversity in tricky locations, the Living Pillar™ will do a little bit more to help with air quality and longer term the app should enable us to measure air quality in the area as well as keep our plants watered when they ask!’

   
The Evans flowerbed before and after refurbishment

Businesses are already talking about the improvements:

‘Many thanks to Love Wimbledon BID for transformation of a neglected flowerbed, into something sustainable, and great to look at.’

– Manager, Wibbas Down Inn

And that’s not all – bird, bee and insect boxes will be installed in the autumn, with the planting undergrowth acting as the perfect refuge for urban wildlife and insects. The Petunias will be replaced with plant species carefully selected for their seasonal pollen and nectar production, as well as their ability to remove polluting particulate matter from air.

The LivingPillar™ can  be found in front of Evans Cycles on Gladstone Road in Wimbledon Town Centre.

Creating Healthy, Flexible Workspaces post-Covid

Covid-19 has forced many businesses to adopt remote or hybrid working, undertake new practices around social distancing and safety, and think creatively about how to maintain a workplace culture at a disconnected time. As many offices look to return to Wimbledon Town Centre, it is clear that the workplace will need be an environment where employees feel safe, happy and comfortable to thrive in.

We heard from local office design and build experts Peldon Rose, on what considerations your workspace may need.

Enhanced collaborative and breakout spaces

As we return to work place it is crucial that we have space for informal conversations, to build upon the social capital that has been lost. Within the workspace ecosystem, breakout spaces help to encourage conversation and for us to chat and interact informally.

For Peldon Rose, our tea point and family-style dining area brings us together, it’s a place where we can enjoy a drink together after a busy week or break down those social barriers over a board game. It creates a positive atmosphere where we can celebrate business milestones or a colleague’s birthday.

Of course, we also need to create areas that will allow us to fulfil our job roles to the best of our ability. Attracting employees back to the office is a huge focus for businesses across the country at the moment and balancing different personalities and preferences will be key to success. Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert or omnivert, we must encourage smart working and collaborative thinking in a way that is inclusive of all. Collaborative spaces like breakout areas, with tables and chairs outside of regular desks or meeting rooms, can help foster an atmosphere of collaboration, while areas designed for brainstorms or for eating lunch can bring the team together in new ways and provide them with resources to create something new.

For members of the team who may be cautious about returning to the office environment an agile working environment that includes features such as quiet areas or pods, provides somewhere they can work without being in the midst of it all.

Softer, inviting, and homely atmospheres.

While our work-from-home setups have varied drastically, we have all experienced a greater level of control over the atmosphere we work in. There are those of us who work while enjoying the background noise of a radio, and others who prefer to operate in complete silence. Similarly, we’ve adapted the lighting, temperature and even the aromas of our working environment to suit our personal preferences.

Now, after curating environments that optimise comfort, and in a lot of cases concentration, many will be anxious to leave the sanctuary of the home. This means employees will be looking to return to a workplace that feels almost like a home away from home. This was the inspiration behind one of our recent projects at The White Company. The design was centred around the concept of “going home to work ”. The team created a workplace that uses domestic design elements to create a calming atmosphere, with a variety of working destinations to cater for those who like to work in solitude, or alongside others.

In addition, we’ll see the installation of furniture that bridges the gap between home and work, stemming from a flexible attitude towards workspaces, that positions the comfort and wellbeing of employees at the centre.

Consider wellness and mental health

With a renewed awareness in the need to look after our health, workplaces are set to encourage the pursuit of physical activity. We went for walks during lockdown and witnessed first-hand the marked benefits this had on our physical and mental wellbeing and enjoyed exercising in lieu of commuting. We know that exercise exposes our brain to more oxygen, which helps to foster creative thinking and improved energy levels and  helps us to be more productive.

Whether it’s a workplace that can transform meeting rooms into a yoga studio or terrace spaces, a workplace that provides shower and bike-storage facilities, or a workplace with sit-stand desks, design should reflect and encourage physical movement. Designing a floorplan which allows occupants to navigate around the office to create their own desire paths is key to elevating physical and mental wellbeing in the office.

Calm the nerves

Our phased return to Peldon Rose HQ gave us the opportunity to test our own guidance methods, underpinned by Government guidelines to provide a safe and secure environment to support the wellbeing of our employees. Our learnings were honest and enabled us to refine our guidance for clients and in return it has provided us with knowledge of how to continue to adapt.

Due to the varying nature of workplaces across the country, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, which is why it’s vital there is a full planning process in place and time is carved out to make these changes in your physical back-to-work plan. From Perspex screens at desks, to markers indicating where people can stand in high-traffic areas and regular handwashing/sanitising stations – for many it will look like a completely different workplace to the one we left in early March 2020. Water system flushing, air ventilation checks and ensuring all lifts are in full working order are also at the top of the list, to make sure that staff are as safe as possible when it comes to returning to the office.

For members of the team who may be cautious about returning to the office environment, an agile working environment that includes features such as quiet areas or pods, provides somewhere they can work without being in the midst of it all. You also free employees from their desks allowing them to discover new places to work in proximity to potential new friendships.

Although many will be apprehensive about returning, it’s important we find a way to start the return to work. Facilities managers and those with operational oversight should remain in control of the return-to-work planning to ensure all the necessary checks and procedures are carried out before anyone physically sets foot in the building. If businesses start to think creatively and integrate their culture into these new measures and ways of working, this return to normality will certainly be a welcome one for the office.

For further information on how enhance your workplace to the benefit of both your business and your people, contact Peldon Rose.