As any visitor to this site will quickly realise, we have long championed the notion that the design of a working environment, and the inherent culture created within, will have a dramatic effect on the long-term prospects of any business. The office is the home of your business and therefore showing a little pride in the premises is crucial if you are to get the best out of your team; the trouble with such claims however is that it can be difficult to calculate a concrete ROI for office fit-out projects.

This was exactly the focus of Insider’s recent ‘North West Workplaces: Putting People First’ breakfast event, which brought together a panel of industry experts to discuss the benefits of investing in the physical and cultural aspects of a workplace, including how companies could measure these potential gains.

Speakers at the event included: Rupert Cornford, head of business relationships and communications, Carter Corson; Ryan Cheyne, people director,; Monica Brij, partner, CMS; Paul Billington, commercial director, The Landing; Phillip O'Neill, market principal - UK North, ThoughtWorks; Paul Wheeler, director of communications, Kellogg's; Lars Sindberg, director, APAM; and Andrew Burns, joint managing director, TSK.

Ryan Cheyne, people director for, took the stage to share how recent investments made by his company, such as the recent £2.5m revamp of the company’s International Customer Service Centre at Sunlight House, have provided a variety of benefits. Their efforts have clearly made an impact, as two of their city centre offices have since received recognition for being among the ‘coolest’ around.

He told his audience at the event, “We don’t put a hard measure against it in terms of what we have invested and got back. There is something quite straightforward in our approach - if we get it right for our colleagues and customers we will make more money.

“It filters through to the bottom line in so many ways it’s hard to pin down. However, since we have invested in becoming a truly amazing place to work, our colleague turnover has halved - which will in itself more than save us the money we have invested in the building.”

Rupert Cornford, head of business relationships and communications at business psychology consultancy Carter Corson, sought to provide more clarity as to how you can go about measuring the impact of such projects, telling the awaiting audience, “You can measure investments according to what a company does with internal metrics like sickness, grievance and staff turnover. There are also self-report measures like ‘it feels like a better place to be’.”

Andrew Burns, joint managing director of workplace design and delivery company TSK Group, also commented, “Organisations are focusing on how they win new customers and the right customers, capturing data to shape customer experience and journey. When it comes to office design, the consumers are the office workers. There is a big pull now to understand what people want and need.”

The ‘North West Workplaces: Putting People First’ breakfast event was sponsored by APAM, CMS and TSK. Full coverage of the event will appear in the January 2018 edition of the North West Business Insider magazine.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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