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Employee happiness is key to productivity - BLOG

Blythe Valley Park case study

​BIRMINGHAM - 8 November 2017 - Rachel Andrew, Director Property and Asset Management at JLL in Birmingham talks about how a new wave of occupiers are taking a more holistic approach to the workplace as they go in search of employee happiness and a healthy bottom line.

Work life balance is the current buzz phrase on the lips of a new generation of office professionals who increasingly demand their ambitions be realised both in and out of the office.

Whilst trends come and go, this one looks set to grow as a wealth of research shows a direct correlation between the happiness of an employee and their productivity.

A study by the University of Warwick found that 'happy' employees are 12 per cent more productive and are specifically likely to work more creatively, effectively and collaboratively at work.

Traditionally it may have been thought that the prestige of a city centre office would be the key, however many occupiers are looking to more creative, sustainable environments and heading to pastures new.

We've witnessed this first hand at Blythe Valley Park (BVP) in Solihull which we manage for one of the UK's largest private property companies - IM Properties. We are working with IM to ensure we maximize the differentiators at the park to suit occupiers.

Set within 122 acres, surrounded by a countryside park, occupiers are seeing the green setting as something a bit different to promote health and wellbeing amongst its team and give them the competitive edge in the race for talent.

Gymshark - one of the UK's fastest-growing gym-wear brands has chosen BVP as the home for its new global headquarters.

With customers in over 170 countries and FY17 predicted annual sale of £42 million, it's the current holder of the Fast Track 100 award for Britain's fastest-growing private enterprise.

Whilst BVP's connectivity is a huge draw, it's the sense of community created through its onsite independent coffee shop, Java Lounge,  it's Foodie Fridays, Ice cream Thursdays and focus on wellness at work including a Virgin Active Gym that really captured Gymshark's imagination.

You might say well they would be attracted - they're going to love the great outdoors  - it's a perfect match for an aspiring fitness brand, however we're also seeing professional services companies like accountancy firm PKF Cooper Parry take space with staff comfort and facilities a key driver in their decision making process too.

Polar opposites in terms of business sector, yet they both have a common thread in aspiring to create the very best office environment to work in and attract and keep  talent.

PKF Cooper Parry has long been a fan of the chill out zone and napping pod, but with their new offices at Blythe they have taken it one step further with quirky and fun features thrown in - from Narnia cupboards to Segways and a running track.

To thrive, helping people to feel good at work is more than a 'box-ticking' exercise and IM Properties has worked hard to make sure the external environment pays more than lip service to the work life balance. They'd be happy to tell you this themselves on one of their walking meeting routes around BVP.

A recent report by JLL into the Future of Work revealed that companies stand to benefit in measureable ways once they realise that the experience they create for their people in the workplace goes to the heart of those employees' levels of engagement, sense of empowerment and feelings of fulfilment at work.

It's not just about the office design, its the whole human experience.