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The quality of their headquarters in terms of multiple wellness factors (light, temperature, air quality, views, location, material quality, sustainability, the list is endless), will more and more contribute not only to staff’s desire to join a firm, but also to whether they will choose to work there regularly.

In what could increasingly be a buyer’s market post-Brexit, EU bases may prove more attractive to financial sector employees with transferrable skills. This is another key driver in the focus on wellness, as not just a ‘nice to have’, but an essential business driver. The Crown Estate, which has achieved the first Platinum WELL standard for its London HQ, is showing the way. Gaining a benchmark which will be recognised internationally, it rewards the firm for already doing the right things to the highest standards. But it’s also the badge of quality to attract future recruits to work within its walls, as well as remotely.

James Parker Editor

10.18 ON THE COVER...

Théodore Gouvy Theatre – a symbol of renewal in a deprived former mining town on the French-German border.

THÉODORE GOUVY THEATRE, FREYMING-MERLEBACH Architects Dominique Coulon & associés produce some dramatic contrasts to help regenerate a former mining town on the French-German border

CROSSRAIL STATION, PADDINGTON WW+P bring a sense of light and openness to new west London station

For the full report on this project, go to page 38 Cover Image © Eugeni Pons



seminar at the interiors-focused 100% Design trade show, held recently at London Olympia, saw Karen Cook, partner at PLP, raise a seemingly self-evident but actually increasingly important statement. It should be a given that we would provide places that make people want to go to

work, however arguably most of our workplaces don’t seem to put the focus on creating a real sense of environmental quality for staff, rather on delivering the basics.

But, in saying “the idea behind 22 Bishopsgate” (PLP’s soaring new glass tower in the City) is that “you should want to go to work,” Cook was highlighting the challenge for big corporates, that thanks to technology, their staff can do a large amount of their tasks in any location, providing there’s decent wi-fi – as Cook says, “you can technically work anywhere”. However she added an interesting note that in industries such as architecture where team working is paramount, operating remotely from the mothership HQ (no matter how practically efficient in certain respects) “is not as productive as you might think.”

With the UK’s focus likely to intensify on ensuring business are more productive, as we face leaving the EU (we currently lag behind countries like France and Germany on productivity by around a quarter), there could be an increased focus on how to ensure people are in the right place, at the right time. This is unlikely to see a clampdown on remote working as it is bringing huge flexibility benefits, not least avoiding huge commutes. It might instead mean that chiefly collaborative industries, of which architecture is one, will try to redress the balance somewhat to ensure they are maximising their strengths.

While Cook asserts that “most of us work in teams”, for the major commercial clients who will take space in 22 Bishopsgate, presumably this is also true some of the time at least. However there is a bigger problem for them, namely trying to attract the best staff internationally. While they may need to be in the office frequently for team working, empowered (and valued) staff can also now be highly mobile, using co- working space for example – meaning, they have choices.



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