On 9 May RO Real Estate gathered a panel of industry experts in Southampton’s Harbour Hotel to discuss wellness and wellbeing, one of the hottest topics in the world of developing, designing and managing offices right now, with the event titled ‘Wellbeing in the Workplace: Fad or Trend?’.

Nick Moore, Head of Investment at RO Real Estate explains: “We put user wellbeing at the centre of our One Dorset Street development, as we believe that health and wellness is of the highest priority to forward thinking organisations and is critical to commercial success. We were thrilled to be joined by a diverse range of experts for our round table event, so that we could discuss how each company and individual has been affected by this movement.”

The ten representatives, from a variety of organisations, had a diverse set of considerations with each speaker having differing personal experiences with wellbeing in the workplace.

“Wellbeing is clearly a lot of different things to different people, but we all have a responsibility for it,” began Nick Moore, RO Real Estate’s head of investment. Undoubtedly, statistics like UK employers losing an average of 35.6 days of productive time per person per year back up the need to carefully consider wellness at work.

“The conversation has gone beyond going to the gym or cycling into work and is about how people feel about where they work and can they give their best selves” said Lynn Murphy, workplace wellbeing adviser for Southampton City Council.

Highlighted by the assembled group was that a number of sectors are in need of advancements in the workplace, including improved work/ life balance, the need to create or further an awareness to embed health and wellbeing in the workforce, as well as investing in wellbeing with physical features in the workplace. The participants all discussed the ways in which their company is constantly moving forward to not only better themselves in these areas, but also how they reach out and hope to influence other companies through council action, training programmes and wellbeing conferences.

While much has been made of the war for talent and attracting and retaining the brightest millennials entering the workforce, the panel recognised the wellness needs of different demographics, be that part time or homeworking for parents with young children or a physical environment that better suits older workers in terms of lighting levels and access.

While apps are a modern-day way to achieve buy-in to wellness programmes for some, the panel agreed that old-fashioned posters in a lift or a physical noticeboard can do just as much to communicate better and more frequently to a wider range of employees.

Despite the differing backgrounds and employment history of the panel, all members agreed that wellbeing of employees, and implementing mental health support in the workplace, has risen to top of the agenda.

The event was chaired by Helen Parton, an architecture and interiors journalist with over 15 years’ experience, who specialises in writing about how well-designed workspaces can make people happier and more productive.

The specialist participants of the roundtable included:

• Carol Phillips, partner is in the commercial property team at Foot Anstey, in the firm’s real estate group

• Emma Meredith, regeneration and development manager at Hampshire County Council

• Gary Helm, founder of obo

• Gary Wilburn, managing director of HPW Architecture Ltd, and chair of the AECB, board member of Future South and Steering Group and founding member of Green Halo

• Georgia Elliott-Smith, director of Element 4, a WELL Accredited professional and Fitwel ambassador

• Lynn Murphy, workplace wellbeing coordinator for the Southampton City Council Wellbeing@Work service to businesses in the city

• Nella Pang, director, head of business space and development in the South Coast at JLL

• Nick Moore, head of investment at RO Real Estate

• Stuart McLennan, director at LAH Property Marketing

Please see attached an in-depth report regarding the round table forum.

Also, for further information contact Cat Alfille.