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Wellbeing

How to encourage a healthy workplace

Woman stretching outside

With the vaccination rollout currently in full swing throughout the UK and plenty of buzz being generated about how Wales might exit lockdown once and for all, many of us are hopeful that our employees will soon be able to return to the office in the near future – in some capacity, at least. Although there is still some time to go, preparing early will ensure that nothing gets missed when it comes to creating a safe and healthy workplace.

Obviously, your first priority before your employees return to the office should be checking that it is compliant with any new COVID-19 measures that are in place during that time. However, you should also be actively taking other steps to encourage your workplace to be more healthy. This isn’t just in terms of your team members’ physical health, but their mental well-being too.

In fact, even if you and your employees haven’t been directly affected by the virus, it’s likely that the pandemic has still affected your mental and physical health. With gyms and leisure centres being closed for much of the past year, many of us are exercising less – and although people in Wales are allowed to leave the house for exercise in lockdown, motivation to do so remains low for many of us.

In fact, there is plenty of evidence to demonstrate the negative effect the pandemic is having on the mental health of many people, with one study in the UK concluding that between spring 2018 and spring 2020, rates of mental distress in the general population increased from 18.8% to 27.3%.

So, what steps can you take to encourage a healthy workplace not just in lockdown, but when your staff have returned to the office for good?

Promote healthy eating

A shared fruit bowl might be out of the window right now (especially if your team is still working remotely), but that doesn’t mean that you still can’t encourage them to swap the biscuits with a healthier alternative! There are a number of services you can use to get healthy snack boxes sent directly to your employees while they work from home. This is sure to be appreciated by staff who will feel valued and as though their company has gone the extra mile to look after their general health and well-being.

Close-up of fruit bowl

Encourage workers to stand more

Whether people are working from home or in the office, it’s not uncommon for many to feel guilty for stepping away from their desk too often during the working day. Despite this, health experts have stressed for many years that you shouldn’t remain seated for too long (as a matter of fact, the maximum amount of time should be a period of 30 minutes). With this in mind, you should be educating your workforce on the importance of stretching their legs, making it clear that they should be taking regular breaks throughout the working day to do so – even if this is only to walk to the kettle and back!

Get your workforce exercising!

Although this tip may be difficult to put into practice currently, offering discounted (or even free) gym memberships to your employees won’t just help them to feel appreciated, but because you have contributed towards their membership, they will be more inclined to visit the gym and get active. However, if this just isn’t feasible for your business right now, another great option is to allocate a set amount of time (such as one afternoon each month) for workers to focus on their fitness. This could be used to go for a solo walk, run or bike ride, or even to exercise with others on their team (if this is permitted by social distancing rules, of course)!

Onsite gym at Tec Marina's serviced offices

Check-in with employees regularly

Isolation and plans being cancelled due to the pandemic aren’t the only things that can have a negative effect on the mental health of your workers. Factors such as unmanageable workloads, unrealistic deadlines and feeling as though they don’t have a great relationship with those they work with can all lead to stress – and ultimately, burnout – which isn’t great for anyone’s health. Particularly during this difficult time, managers should be arranging regular one on one meetings with their team members to check how they’re feeling and whether they need any additional help and support. This can be done in person or a video call, depending on what the COVID-19 guidelines are at that time.

Offer ‘mental health days’

If someone on your team wasn’t able to focus on their work due to feeling physically unwell, you wouldn’t ask them to work regardless – so why shouldn’t the same rule apply when it comes to how they feel mentally? After all, sometimes, we simply can’t face the day – and that’s perfectly okay. This is why more and more organizations are now allocating a certain number of days (which are completely separate from their regular annual leave allowances) for their staff to take the day off and focus on themselves when needed. If possible, this is something your company should be offering too.

Looking to relocate for your team’s return to the office?

Choosing the right working environment can have a substantial effect on your employees’ health and well-being, making them happier and more productive. So, before they make their formal return to the office (whether full-time or part-time), could now be the perfect time to relocate to a new office that your team will love spending their time in?

Boat in Tec Marina atrium

If you’re looking for a new office in South Wales, Tec Marina (located near the beautiful Penarth Marina) is designed to inspire creativity and well-being. As well as having a free onsite gym for all residents to use, secured bike storage, colourful kitchens with all the free tea and coffee you could want, and a bright, open atrium with plenty of room to relax and hold meetings, our offices are fully serviced and furnished with everything you need. We have also taken all the necessary steps required to keep our residents and visitors safe from COVID-19, such as making it easy to adhere to social distancing guidelines, putting up screens between the seating in our atrium and installing automatic hand sanitising stations throughout the building.

Want to find out more about Tec Marina or book a viewing with a member of our team? Give us a call on 02921 678391 or email us at contact@tecmarina.com.

The most sought-after employee perks your business should be offering in 2021

Employees working together in office

For many years, salary hasn’t been the most important part of a job description; instead, offering the right employee benefits can mean the difference between attracting the right talent that will grow with your business and your vacancies not remaining filled for long. Although last year brought plenty of uncertainty that has sadly continued into 2021, one thing that has changed is the needs and expectations of employees – and as a result, the workplace perks they expect to be offered.

2020 was a difficult and confusing time for most of us, with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic causing a sudden shakeup in the way we work and communicate with our family, friends and coworkers. As a result of our usual face-to-face chats in the office largely being replaced with instant messages, emails and video meetings for much of the year, in 2021, a bigger emphasis needs to be placed on offering employee benefits that boost morale and well-being.

According to a recent study from Perkbox, the most sought-after workplace perk in 2021 will be employee discounts (on things such as supermarket shops and meals out), with over 50% of UK workers admitting that this benefit would make the largest difference to their happiness and well-being. Although this is something that may be difficult for every business to offer due to the current climate and logistics involved, there are plenty of other highly sought after perks that you can start working into your employee benefits packages now…

Remote and flexible working

Even before COVID-19 temporarily changed life as we know it, flexible working ranked highly on the list of the most sought-after perks of the job. In fact, 59% of respondents of a 2018 survey from TotalJobs said that this would be the most important benefit to them when looking for a new role. With statistics from the ONS showing that last April, 46.6% of UK workers carried out some of their work at home, it’s likely that your employees did the same – and that they may be continuing to work remotely now that the UK is back in lockdown.

Flexible working is a great morale and productivity booster, improving our work-life balance and allowing us to choose to complete our most pressing tasks when we’re at our most productive and focused. In 2020, many employees proved that they can be equally as productive when working from home as they did from the office, so you should continue to offer increased flexibility around working hours and location – even when social distancing and lockdowns have become a thing of the past.

How to offer this perk: If remote working is something that your organisation is still struggling to adapt to, investing in team collaboration software can help your employees to stay on the same page when working together remotely. Having 24-hour access to your workplace can also enable you to give them greater freedom around when they choose to work when they are in the office.

Greater recognition

We all want to be recognised for doing a good job – it can be a great morale booster, as feeling valued for the effort we put into our work encourages us to work even harder. Perkbox’s survey found that behind employee discounts, ‘greater recognition’ ranked as the second most desired employee benefit with 42% of people admitting that it would make them happier at work. Sadly, this is something that may have fallen to the wayside if your team is currently distributed across different kitchens, spare rooms and home offices.

How to offer this perk: It’s easy to say a quick ‘thank you’ to your teammate for a job well done when they’re sitting right next to you or even show your appreciation by bringing treats into the office for everyone to share. With the amount we interact with our colleagues falling as a result of working from home, managers should be scheduling regular 1-2-1s with the members of their team over a video call. This gives them the opportunity to check how they’re feeling and highlight any work that they’re particularly happy with. Offering early finishes or extra time off is also an easy and effective way to reward employees who are working remotely.

Additional (or unlimited) holidays

Yep, even with most of us having many of our plans cancelled and less events to fill our spare time in 2020, 41% of UK employees said that having unlimited or a greater amount of annual leave would make them happier in their job this year. The Perkbox survey also found that 35% of employees believed that being able to have time off for their mental health (known as ‘mental health days’) would be the most beneficial to their well-being in 2021.

With the effects of the pandemic still being felt (and likely to be felt for many months to come), taking care of your employees’ mental health and well-being is now more important than ever before. It’s easy for the lines between your working hours and your free time to blur into one when you’re working from home without the change of location. For many of us, the commute home 5 evenings a week is usually a great time to switch off from work. Instead, this has been replaced with simply shutting down our laptops and walking into another room in our home.

How to offer this perk: This really is as simple as it sounds – by looking at the current amount of annual leave you offer your employees and determining if you are able to add on a few extra days. If this is already pretty high, you can put a spin on this benefit by giving employees a day off for their birthday or offering them the chance to work overtime in order to accrue additional hours, which they can use to shorten their working days or even have a full day off work. Letting your staff know that they can speak to you about their mental health concerns and take the day off when they’re not feeling their best can also greatly reduce stress and help employees avoid burning out.

Safer environments

Interestingly, yet not surprisingly, access to free COVID-19 tests and vaccinations through their organization also ranked amongst the list of the most sought-after employee benefits. Although this is something that not every workplace can realistically offer, you can help your team to feel safe and assured that you care about their health during this difficult time by going the extra mile to make changes to their working environment and patterns.

Close-up of face mask and hand sanitizer

How to offer this perk: Your business should have already implemented necessary changes to your office to help prevent the spread of the virus, such as implementing a one-way system with appropriate signage, placing hand sanitizers throughout the building, installing screens between seating and ensuring that everyone is able to keep a 2m distance. However, you can do more by staggering your employees’ working hours so less people are in the office at one time and allowing them to work from different locations – both outside and inside of your office (if you have enough space). You should also be asking your employees directly what would make them feel safer.

Offering the right workplace benefits is one of the easiest ways to make your employees happy and encourage them to stay with your company for the long-term.

Tec Marina’s serviced offices near Cardiff, South Wales offer plenty of room for social distancing, as well as unlimited tea and coffee, a free onsite gym and changing rooms, and bright and spacious meeting areas. The building also has 24/7 access to allow for flexible working and we have taken all necessary measures to keep our residents and their visitors feeling safe during the pandemic.

Ready to feel inspired by your workplace? Find out more about our flexible offices and facilities or enquire about our available office space by emailing contact@tecmarina.com or calling 02921 678391.

Why do you need flexible office space?

Woman working on computer in Tec Marina

The future of work is flexible. Although COVID-19 has caused it to become the norm for employees to spend the majority of their time working from home, remote and flexible working was on the rise long before the outbreak hit the world early last year. In fact, according to the Labour Force Survey, the number of employees in the UK who benefit from flexible working arrangements rose from 23% to 27% between 2005 and 2017. As a result, the demand for flexible office space has also grown this year.

Research from Totaljobs in 2018 also found that 59% of employees believe that flexible working is the most important benefit to look for when searching for a new job – and this is something that is likely to have increased this year. However, if you are a small business that wants to offer more flexibility to your staff, you need flexible office space.

What is flexible office space?

Unlike traditional office spaces, renting a flexible office will give you the room to (as the name suggests!) be flexible as your company changes – something that is particularly useful in the current climate. You can easily expand your office as your company grows, which means that you can start off with a smaller office while the majority of your staff are working remotely, and expand your space if your workforce grows or more of your employees return to working in the office more frequently.

With a flexible office, you also benefit from being able to get set up quickly. Flexible offices are typically already furnished and you will have access to facilities such as shared meeting rooms and kitchens. They’re also fully serviced, which means your office will be regularly cleaned for you as part of your contract, and tasks such as greeting your guests and your handling mail will be carried out by an on-site reception team. This means that you can get up and running as soon as you move into the building.

In Tec Marina, the home of our serviced offices in Cardiff, South Wales, we have a friendly team that is always happy to help with anything you need – and they work extremely hard to ensure that the building is regularly cleaned and sanitised to a high standard. All of our residents have access to a range of great facilities, such as rentable meeting rooms, a bright and spacious atrium, well-stocked kitchen areas and a free onsite gym. They are also set up with superfast 1G fibre-optic broadband with access to reliable tech support delivered by our partners.

People having a meeting in Tec Marina

Another benefit to look out for when choosing flexible office space for your business is whether the building has fixed opening hours or can be accessed 24/7 by its residents (like Tec Marina). Not all roles can be done from home, so this can make all the difference for your staff who may work at different times and on particular days, or may want to stagger their hours to avoid using transport at peak times – the choice is yours!

The benefits of flexible working

So, what are the benefits of flexible working and why is it now one of the most sought after employee perks alongside the ability to work from home? The answer is simple; it promotes a better work-life balance. Cut out the rush hour commute and you have far more free time to spend with your family and doing the things you love. Additionally, by being able to choose when you’re on the clock, you can plan your working hours around the other commitments in your life – such as caring for a relative, doing the morning school run, or getting in a quick gym session.

As a business, implementing flexible working practices can increase the quantity and quality of work being produced as employees can choose to work when they’re at their most productive. The standard working hours of 9 to 5 may be what we all know, but it doesn’t necessarily suit every worker. After all, some people wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 6:00 AM, ready to get started on their to-do list, while others get their best ideas in the afternoon.

However, in a time when there are still concerns about the spread of COVID-19, allowing your staff to work from home a few times a week and be in the office at different times of the day can also help to ensure that everyone in your organisation is complying with vital social distancing guidelines. This is something that every business has a duty to uphold to keep their employees feeling safe and supported during this strange and uncertain time.

Looking for a flexible office in Cardiff? Tec Marina has various sized office spaces to suit teams of all sizes. Our offices are fully serviced, furnished and equipped with super fast broadband as standard – and our residents also benefit from free nearby parking, the use of our onsite gym and as much free tea and coffee as you could ever need!

To find out more about our available office space, please call us on 02921 678391 or email the team at contact@tecmarina.com.

How to make your office safer during COVID-19

Close up on hands holding cleaning supplies

If your employees have been furloughed or working from home for the past few months, then they may be worried about returning to the office, despite lockdown restrictions now gradually being lifted around the globe. With the UK and many other parts of the world adapting to a ‘new normal’, you should already be preparing your building for your staff to return and doing everything you can to ensure they feel safe when your doors are ready to reopen.

With the threat of the virus still being very much present, it’s normal for your employees to have concerns about how they can protect themselves when they return to the workplace – especially as social distancing and wearing face coverings in enclosed spaces is due to be the norm for the foreseeable future. In this scary and uncertain time, you want to ensure your employees feel confident returning to work assured that every step has been taken to protect their health and well-being.

As an employer in the UK, you are now required to ensure that (where possible) everyone in your workplace is able to keep a 2-metre distance. However, if your business is based in Wales (where Tec Marina calls home!), it is a legal requirement for you to take reasonable measures to reduce the transmission of coronavirus. This includes ensuring that all employees and visitors to your premises are able to stay 2-metres apart. COVID-19 guidelines also state that frequently touched surfaces must be sanitised regularly.

If you employ more than 5 members of staff, your business will need to conduct a full health and safety audit before they are able to return to the office. Below, we outline some quick and simple changes you can make to your workplace to ensure it’s safe for their return…

Provide hand sanitizers

Regularly washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is one of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, if hand washing facilities are not available, you should be using hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if you touch any surfaces in public areas, such as office buildings and shops.

You should ensure that everyone in your workplace has easy access to hand-washing facilities and hand sanitisers, with good places to locate hand sanitisers including at the entrance of the building, in communal areas (such as kitchens, washrooms and meeting rooms), and close to the entrance of different rooms. If possible, install automatic hand sanitiser dispensers that don’t need to be touch-operated to further reduce the spread of the virus.

Rearrange your office furniture

To help enforce social distancing, it’s likely that you’ll need to rearrange your furniture or remove some of it completely – especially if your office is small or you have a large team working in an enclosed space. Whether this is by halving the number of chairs that sit around a table in your breakout area or seating employees back-to-back when working, you must ensure that those in your premises are able to move around without coming into close contact with others and that they can keep a 2-metre distance even when seated.

Putting up screens between desks and other seating areas is an effective way of reducing the virus being spread by droplets from coughs and sneezes. If you work in a smaller building with narrow corridors, you should also consider implementing a one-way system for moving around the building and ensuring this is clearly signposted or marked on the floor.

Clean surfaces more regularly

Regular cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces is vital in reducing the spread of any virus. Although your office should already be undergoing daily cleaning, this will need to be substantially increased as coronavirus is easily transferred from people to surfaces, and then to other individuals who touch these surfaces.

Your business should conduct a risk assessment to identify any frequently touched areas in your building, including (but not limited to) workstations, computer keyboards, printers, door handles, windows, kitchen appliances, toilets and work tools. You should put in place measures to ensure these are cleaned and disinfected between each use (if possible). One easy way to enforce this is by placing cleaning products throughout the office so people can disinfect these surfaces and equipment before they use them.

Take a flexible approach

Though you may be keen to see your employees after spending the past few months keeping in touch through emails, instant messaging and video calls, continuing to let them work from home a few days a week will greatly reduce the number of people in your office at one time – making it far easier to ensure that social distancing guidelines are being adhered to. Plus, with many of your employees likely to have adapted to the freedom of working from home, a soft and gradual return to the early morning alarms and traffic-filled commutes is sure to be appreciated!

If possible, offering more flexibility with working hours can also reduce the number of workers who are in the office at one time, as well as help those who are unable to walk, cycle or drive to work to avoid travelling on busy public transport during peak times. Extending the time frames in which staff can take lunch breaks will also ensure that everyone is able to keep a distance.

Looking for the perfect office in South Wales for your team’s return to work? Tec Marina is located just outside of the capital city of Cardiff and offers a number of fully serviced flexible offices for teams of all sizes with plenty of room for social distancing. In fact, we have more open breakout spaces than most other serviced offices! To find out more and to book your virtual or physical viewing, please email contact@tecmarina.com or call us on 02921 678391!

Tec Marina raises £1,400 for Children in Need

In this week’s Children in Need activities, Tec Marina raised an impressive total of £1,400.

Today’s Children in Need event kicked off with a Bake Sale. Tec Marina residents baked a variety of delicious bakes from Victoria sponge and chocolate caramel cupcakes, to cornflake cakes and even vegan flapjacks! Open Genius’s Liv won this year’s Star Baker with her exquisite carrot cake.

Tec Marina Children in Need Bake Sale 2018

Next on the ‘Pudsey Timetable’ was the Ping Pong Final. A sport taken very seriously here at Tec Marina, the week-long Ping Pong tournament came to an exciting end today. The nail-biting final between Layth (from Wealthify) and Rob (from Credas) resulted in a 21-15 victory for winner Layth.

Tec Marina Ping Pong Finalists 2018

For the past few weeks, Tec Marina residents have been taking part in a ‘Guess the bear’s name’ competition in the hope of winning the giant teddy bear up for grabs. With the winning name of ‘Leonard’, Beks (from Tec Marina) has kindly chosen to donate the cuddly bear to Welsh children’s hospice, Tŷ Hafan.

Tec Marina Children in Need Giant Bear

With a huge number of generous donations, including a signed Star Wars print, an M&S Hamper and numerous bottles, the Raffle took place in Tec Marina’s Atrium where residents gathered to watch the magic unfold.

Tec Marina Children in Need Raffle 2018

Tec Marina would like to thank all the companies for getting involved with baking, raffle donations, and for donating to the wonderful cause.

Charity events, like this week’s Children in Need activities, are just one of the many reasons we love working in our shared workspace. If you’re interested in finding out more about office or coworking space at Tec Marina, get in touch today: 029 2167 8391 / contact@tecmarina.com.

The Great Tec Marina Bake Off

September only means one thing… The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. This year, Tec Marina managed to raise an impressive total of £265.20 for Macmillan Cancer Support!

Hosted by Wealthify, the event took place in our Tec Marina Games Room, where the cakes were beautifully presented with flowers and balloons. Bakes included everything from Chocolate Whoopie Pies to Almond Cake, and Elderflower & Lemon Cake to Banana Loaf – to name just a few.

“As many of our employee’s families or friends have been diagnosed or know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer, it was a great opportunity to raise some money for a much needed cause and let’s be honest, any excuse for cake! This wouldn’t have been possible without the support from all the business’s within Tec Marina, and we’d like to thank all the keen bakers and cake eaters for contributing!” – Wealthify

Tec Marina Bake Off

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Wealthify for hosting, the bakers for baking and to everyone who came just to eat cake, we thank you too for your generous donations.

Community events, like today’s Bake off, are just one of the many reasons we love working in our shared workspace. If you’re interested in finding out more about office or coworking space at Tec Marina, get in touch today: 029 2167 8391 / contact@tecmarina.com.

Tec Marina Bootcamp – Week 1

On Monday, we started the week off right with our very first Tec Marina bootcamp session. Personal Trainer, Matt Bowring, took a group of 14 Tec Marina residents into our gym for a lunchtime fitness fix.

As this was the first session out of 8, we partnered up and went through some tough fitness tests, including timed cardio, press-ups and sit ups. We noted down our scores and will be using these as a starting point to track our progress over the next 8 weeks. Fitness tests out of the way, Coach Matt then made the decision to inflict some serious pain on the Tec Marina bootcampers with a group squatting session, and we certainly felt the burn.

Squats

But the pain will not be stopping there. Each bootcamper has been set some weekly homework. 2 x 20-min workouts are to be completed by everyone before next Monday. No excuses are valid when you have a gym in the same building as your office.

Session over, high fives all round, and time to hit the showers. Despite the wobbly legs, the afternoon saw a peak in motivation with lots of post workout endorphins floating around the place.

With a full house already booked for next Monday, we’re looking forward to seeing how far we can progress as a group over the next 8 weeks – Go team!

Health and well-being are high on the agenda at Tec Marina, and that’s why we want to offer sessions like these to our residents for no extra cost. Follow our progress over on our Twitter page.