Joanna Swash: How to create a happy healthy workplace

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Joanna Swash, MD of Moneypenny
Joanna Swash is keeping staff happy at Moneypenny a tree house meeting room, village pub, sun terrace, triple height atrium with stadium seating and a restaurant offering free breakfast and fruit.

At Moneypenny we pride ourselves on our happy staff. What we believe is simple: if our staff are happy, our clients are happy. These have been the most important factors to us since day one and shape everything we do.

We spend the majority of our time at work so we ensure that going to work is a pleasure not a chore. We have never done anything the conventional way so when we decided to build a new headquarters, we asked ourselves how can we make sure staff will be happy there? The answer was simple – ask them. We didn’t want to create a workplace based on someone’s else’s vision of brilliant, we wanted to it to be somewhere our staff loved and enjoyed coming to every day.

We received a phenomenal response and staff took part in small focus groups, as well as being encouraged to send their ideas direct to management. We have a fantastic relationship with our PAs and knew they would relish the opportunity to get involved.

Collating this information, we then used these ideas as the basis for the office’s blueprint – and the end results didn’t disappoint.

The striking 91,000sq ft building – which rivals the likes of Google and Apple’s headquarters – boasts a tree house meeting room, its own village pub, a sun terrace and a triple height atrium with stadium seating and a restaurant offering free breakfast and fruit. Outside the development is equally impressive and surrounded by seven acres of landscaped grounds with nature trails, a duck pond and orchards with picturesque countryside views.

Wellbeing Focus Week 2015Each element of the office is based on the feedback from employees. Socialising, for instance, is a big part of company life, with annual trips to the races and private cinema screenings, so a pub was built where PAs can unwind with a glass of wine at the end of their day. The pub also hosts the quarterly celebration of exceptional achievements – recognising those who make the ordinary extraordinary. Winners are awarded their own personalised tankard, which will hang proudly in the pub and entitles them to a free drink every time they go to the ‘Dog and Bone’.

Feeling at ‘home’ was also important so every member of staff is able to personalise their desk space and even control their own lighting. Hot-desking was never a consideration for us, we wanted everyone to feel like they had their own personal space where they could let their personality shine through.

Location was a key consideration with employees opting for an idyllic semi-rural setting rather than a city-centre postcode. A dislike of air con and strip lighting was also made clear, so we installed a natural ventilation system and huge floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the building with sunlight.

Moneypenny Treehouse
Go wild at Moneypenny – the tree house meeting room and company giraffes (click to enlarge)

In addition, healthy food was a reoccurring theme so staff perks now include a free breakfast, free fruit, and subsidised lunches with a salad bar. Eating at the desk is discouraged as we encourage socialising and bringing people together as much as possible. Other suggestions from employees included quiet reading nooks to curl up with a book and posh loos.

Keeping staff fit and healthy is a key objective of the company. Alongside the healthy food and snacks we offer weekly exercise classes and we are introducing a quick 20 minute gentle exercise/wellbeing session every lunch break to ensure everyone can fit in some daily exercise. Staff are also involved in the design of the new state of the art gym being built early next year.

We believe that the company’s unique approach represents the future. There are countless studies which have proven that staff are more productive when they enjoy coming to work – but what are companies doing to make this a reality? Instead of worrying about staff stress levels or well-being look at the bigger picture. It is the culture, recognition of achievements and workplace which determines the happiness of your staff.

Note

Moneypenny is the world’s leading provider of telephone answering, outsourced switchboard, Live Chat and customer contact solutions, handling over 10 million customer communications a year for 10,000 businesses. Moneypenny is proud to have won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise and has been recognised in The Sunday Times ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ five times, including a top 5 listing in 2015 and 2017

 

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About Joanna Swash

Joanna was recruited as Moneypenny’s first sales person 13 years ago, after her role as commercial director, she was appointed Managing Director last year.

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