Moving offices: good for your health

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We moved. It went smoothly, nothing was lost or broken. Something else happened. Our new offices are boosting creativity and teamworking, the new space has raised morale and our sense of wellbeing. On top of all this we are doing it all for less, as a lower rent means serious cash savings.

Right in the heart of London, our old offices were fit for purpose, but rather unexciting. Open plan on the 1st floor of a large office block, they were getting careworn and one area was always too hot when the rest was too cold. We were in the concrete jungle overlooking another tower block with little natural sunlight. Our lease was due for renewal with a substantial rent increase. We decided to move.

We searched for a while, looking to save money without going too far down market. Luckily, we found somewhere suitable only 250 metres away. We made sure all areas and levels of staff had an opportunity to see them and give feedback before the final decision was made. On a tight timetable there were some heart stopping moments while the lawyers did complex things with the leases. Deadlines met we moved in one working day and weekend.

Then we found we had gained much more than we bargained for. We are still in an office block, but the short move has been a revelation. Before we had been part of the commercial district with the constant buzz of the ‘midtown’ city to west end traffic highways, the pavements full of people hurrying along. But this is actually a veneer. Walk 100 metres along a side street and life is quieter, we are now in the midst of a real community and the effect has been transformational.

Dr Johnson said ‘he who is tired of London is tired of life’ and the inner heart that is the City London is now much nearer to us than we thought. From the windows of our 3rd floor office we can see skyline, that includes the Gherkin and Cheesegrater yet we are in the midst of an Edwardian social housing estate instead of other offices, surrounded by trees and greenery, we are next to a primary school and playground with happy little voices three times a day; a church is nearby with the bells chiming through the day and every Friday Muslims come to pray at the nearby meeting rooms. Leather Lane street market is barely 200 metres away where traders call you to buy at their stalls. It is as if this vibrancy transmits itself to us.

Our office is lighter, cleaner, brighter. We bought new furniture and laid it out better, we are more self-sufficient and have a better kitchen. We used the move to rid ourselves of lots of paper and created more usable space. The team’s creative juices were stimulated – our own staff acted as design gurus and fitted out the office using corporate colours as themes for carpet tiles, for back plates to desks and piping on the furniture. It is more welcoming for our visitors.

We find we now work better as a team, and the boost to morale is tangible. We have to work to earn a living, so let’s get lots of job satisfaction doing it, let’s enjoy working with each other. We spend long period of our lives in the office and decided to create a working space that stimulated us, pleased us and gave us positive energy.
Moving offices really can be good for your health, wealth and happiness.

The Leadership Foundation moved to Verulam St, Holborn in March; the official opening, with staff and board members took place at the end of June.