THE BUSINESS CASE FOR WELLBEING by Nigel Tresise

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Together with project and programme leaders, Seven Partnership, align co-hosted a highly successful panel event in November at the London showroom of Herman Miller, entitled ‘Is there a business case for wellbeing?’

align Director and Co-founder Nigel Tresise was joined on the panel by Seven Partnership Partner and Co-founder Chris Maddison and special guest Dr Nigel Oseland, an Environmental Psychologist and Workplace Strategist at Workplace Unlimited. Our Chair and compere was Joanna Watchman, a passionate advocate of the well-building movement and Founder of workplace wellness forum ‘Work in Mind.’

Here are a few of the major points our panel was keen to underline on the night:

Wellness & Wellbeing
Wellbeing goes beyond ‘wellness’ and is a complex blend of the physical, psychological, social and relationship aspects affecting employees’ working lives. It includes factors such as their working environment and how employees get on with their managers and colleagues. Wellbeing affects not only the lives of individuals but also businesses, the economy and society.

The Well Certificate    
The new ‘Well Certificate’ lists 250 items for the incorporation of wellbeing initiatives into offices. A couple of years back, only 350 companies had achieved it and that figure now is well over 1000, with France leading the pack. Will ‘The Well Certificate’ become the new BREEAM? The panel felt the cost could be off-putting right now, as it is assessed on a sq m basis. As a predictive rather than experiential tool, it also suffers from a lack of benchmarking, though could eventually be a marketing tool and signify higher rental values for agents.

Challenges
On-the-ground challenges right now were seen to include the importance of business owners understanding that wellbeing is not just a capital expenditure; the failure to bring big thinkers in on projects early enough; the fizzling-out of initiatives because of lack of proper ongoing budgets and an overly superficial understanding of biophilia. The panel felt there was a need to share empirical data across the industry and to quantify data before projects start, so that post-occupancy data shows true progress.

Wellbeing Key Factors
For well buildings, these include: thoughtful office planning and design / access to natural light and views out / management of glare / temperature control and acoustic control. A multi-sensory perspective is vital.

Responsibility & Leadership     
The future will include in-house Wellbeing Directors in most large companies, but for now projects must include HR personnel from an earlier stage, as well as FMs. Wellbeing should be measured, just as productivity and performance have previously been measured. A much higher impact will come from having a well-being strategy rather than ad-hoc initiatives and leadership is essential to embedding health within an organisation. Engaging employees has a measurable benefit on performance, especially as the best ideas may not come from the top.

The Relationship between Mental Health and Technology       
With the CIPD (the professional body for HR and people development)’s 2018 survey showing the mixed impact of technology on mental well-being, with 87% of respondents citing an inability to switch off out of work hours as the main negative effect on employees, what more can be done to monitor and limit the negative effects of technology in the workplace, given our increasing dependence on it?

If money was no object, what would the panel implement tomorrow?
The answers were nothing to do with well buildings interestingly, but ranged from stricter curbs on working hours and results-oriented rather than hours-oriented working, as well as curfews on out-of-hours work-use-technology time, following the Scandinavian example

Is there a business case for wellbeing?
Yes! There is a business case for action (improving the bottom line), a moral case (the ‘right thing to do’) and a taxation case (lost productivity and long-term sickness absence = lower corporate tax returns and higher spend on long-term health-care and disability benefits), with ‘health’ too often still being seen as a cost, rather than an essential investment. Well-buildings only account for around 10% of wellbeing outcomes, however. The much greater impact is from company culture. Business owners have to think about legacy. Do you want to be known as a pioneer and pathfinder or a follower and begrudger? Everyone is convinced the business case is there. The really convincing benchmarking quantifying data is only a matter of time.  

SPARK44 SHORTLISTED FOR LONDON DESIGN AWARDS by Nigel Tresise

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We’re shortlisted for the London Design Awards for the fourth year in a row! A great achievement for our team and also for our clients and their readiness to push boundaries. This year our shortlisted project is the London office of Spark44, already a finalist earlier in the year for the Mixology 2018 Awards.
Bring it on!

Work in Mind by Nigel Tresise

New website ‘Work in Mind’ has been launched with the aim of knowledge-sharing and the promotion of positive practice in the creation of well buildings and enhanced wellness in the workplace. We were honoured to be invited to contribute a thought-piece to the initiative’s online launch. align’s Nigel Tresise authored the article, looking closely at the agile working trend to ask if anyone is getting left behind by the latest changes in workplace thinking, whilst esteemed Environmental Psychologist and Workplace Strategist, Dr Nigel Oseland of Work Unlimited told us what the research really says.

Read the article here - https://workinmind.org/2018/08/24/is-anyone-being-left-behind-by-the-agile-working-revolution/

We're hiring by Nigel Tresise

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Mid-Senior Workplace Designer

We are seeking a talented and creative Mid - Senior Workplace Interior Designer to join our London based interior architecture design team. You would be working under and reporting into one of the Company Directors.

Key day-to-day tasks of the Mid- Senior Workplace Interior Designer include:

  • Running your own projects

  • Liaising and presenting to clients

  • Developing drawing packages and managing projects onto site

  • Be confident working with budgets

  • Driving concepts from inception to site completion

  • Developing drawing packages and managing projects onto site

Key attributes of the Mid- Senior Workplace Interior Designer include:

  • Proficient in AutoCad

  • 5+ years experience in interior and architectural design with particular experience of workplace design

  • Creative, innovative and ability to articulate 

  • Strong sketching and visualisation skills required 

  • Strong knowledge for materiality 

  • FF&E skills essential 

  • Proven design management skills 

  • Proven ability to work with within budgets 

  • Self-motivated, proactive and passionate about pushing the boundaries of design 

  • Collaborative with good interpersonal skills and strong team player essential

  • Strong communication skills essential 

  • Continuous desire to learn and develop 

  • Proven client management skills and project running ability 

  • Knowledge and experience of the workplace environment and progressive ways of working

Salary Negotiable 

Email us at studio@aligngb.com if you're interested.

You never know where things will lead! by Nigel Tresise

align Co-founder Gurvinder Khurana was asked recently to comment on the use of print and digital signage in the workspace. Her comments ended up forming most of the content for this great piece on trade show Sign & Digital UK’s website - https://www.signuk.com/sign--digital-explains/how-to-use-sign-and-print-to-make-a-workspace-your-own

As a result of the piece, Gurvinder was then invited to be a panellist at the event itself, held at Birmingham NEC, on Tuesday April 24th.

align creates front cover design for MIX! by Nigel Tresise

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We were thrilled, earlier in the year, to be asked to design the front cover for one of our favourite magazines, MIX. We opened the request up to the team and got some great results, with this one, by align team member Charlotte, chosen for submission. A great honour!

London Design Awards 2017 by Nigel Tresise

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There’s bit of extra shine on our faces in the studio today as we’ve been named SILVER winners TWICE OVER at the London Design Awards 2017! The new HQ we designed for Cathay Pacific in Hammersmith is the winner of a SILVER AWARD at the London Design Awards 2017 in the Interior Design - Corporate & Commercial category, whilst the fabulous late-night bar and venue we designed, together with client Ben Lovett, Dick Bird and Studio Juice, at OMEARA on Flat Iron Square in London's Borough is a SILVER AWARD winner in the Interior Design – Hospitality category, having already won the Hospitality Interiors Award earlier this year at Mixology 2017. Whoop!

Spark44 goes live by Nigel Tresise

We had a really enjoyable day’s filming recently down at our latest workplace scheme to complete, the offices for media agency Spark44 in the high-profile Derwent development, the White Collar Factory, on Old Street roundabout in Shoreditch. The project was chosen by the BCFA’s ‘Design Insider Live’ as a case study and align Director and Co-founder Gurvinder Khurana was interviewed explaining our approach to the design, along with the Spark44 MD and a leading client from Jaguar Land Rover. Watch the great little movie that resulted here - http://www.designinsiderlive.com/case-study-film-spark-44-offices-by-align-interior-architecture-design/

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Omeara London comes out on top at Mixology 17 by Nigel Tresise

We ventured to the Old Billingsgate market last Thursday with feelings of both excitement and déjà vu. Having been shortlisted at Mixology before, we have experienced the rollercoaster of emotions that awards nights bring and we were convinced this would be no different. We were up against some seriously big competition across both the Hospitality Interiors and Design Practice of the Year categories we were shortlisted for.

We must have been fairly sceptical of our chances when we submitted our entries as we didn’t think (at that stage) to book a table for the festivities. By the time we found out we were on the short list they were pretty much sold out. Lesson number 1 - trust your ability!

We did manage to secure some seats but not a whole table, so we had to leave two of the newest team members behind, which was a real shame. No chance of that next year. We shall be booking early!

When the time for our first award came up (Hospitality Interiors) I was purposefully playing down our chances to our team as well as to the other lovely guests our table from NaughtOne and Spacelab. I must have been doing such a good job I didn't actually hear the announcement and had to be prodded by Stephenie next to me to get focussed! It was majorly surreal making our way to the stage and, my God, that award weighs a bloody ton - a great doorstop in the making I think! 

A very big thank you must go to our co-collaborators on the project - Studio Juice and Dick Bird. It was a fantastic team effort and we are so proud of the completed work.

After the obligatory photos and a mumbled interview with some strange people in the bar, we were just about to take a well-earned comfort break when we realised that DPOTY was the next one up. If the competition in Hospitality was stiff the other companies in this category were legendary. There were, unfortunately, no David and Goliath moments here though as TP Bennett romped home on the back of that small, insignificant bit of work they've just finished with UBS 😂😂 Well done guys!

Awards update by Nigel Tresise

We’re delighted to announce that we have been awarded our third company award! We are winners of the ‘Excellence in Interior Design Services’ award at the Corporate LiveWire ‘Architecture Awards 2017’. Last year we were ‘Best in Workplace Interior Design’ at the same awards and in 2015 we won the ‘Best Small Studio’ Award at the London Design Awards 2015. This is such great news for a small company like ours. Of course, we’re always delighted to win awards for our design work on individual projects, but it’s good to be recognized too in our mission to do and be something different as a company. We are currently also shortlisted as ‘Design Practice of the Year’ at the Mixology Awards 2017, which take place later this month.

A Growing Team by Nigel Tresise

We've had an amazing start to 2017, with new clients, new projects starting and a growing team to support them. January, saw Charlotte Soulat, a junior designer from France, join us on a permanent basis and then at the start of March, Liz Hughes has joined us as a senior designer from JLL. Welcome to the team, its going to be a great year!

Happy New Year by Nigel Tresise

So the curse of 2016 is behind us and we start fresh again in 2017, and what a start we have! Straight out of the blocks with a new expansion project for Macquarie Bank in Reading, a new private equity client on the books too and our Turkish restaurant project in Berkhamsted starting on site this week. 

The site in High Street Berkhamsted was stripped out in December in preparation for the fit out phase and as you can see from the photo below, we have a great blank space to start with. Check out the project page to see more details and work in progress as the construction phase gets under way.

Winners again at the London Design Awards! by Nigel Tresise

What better way to end the year than with some seasonal glitter and glitz? We were delighted to be named winners for the second year in a row this month at The London Design Awards 2016, with our workplace scheme for Mendeley being given the Silver Award for Corporate Interior Design. Our thanks to the award organisers Design100 and to everyone at the client team at Mendeley and Elsevier, as well as to our own talented team here at align.

Celebrating with FX magazine by Nigel Tresise

We’re delighted to be part of the festivities surrounding the 25th birthday of FX Magazine this year, both as guests at the annual awards bash and also being asked to contribute a quote on what FX means to us for the magazine’s celebratory 25th anniversary issue. Here’s what Gurvinder had to say:

Flat Iron open for business by Nigel Tresise

With the vast majority of our projects, the fit out process or relocation cycle tends to be measured in months not years. With Flat Iron Square though, we've been involved for over four years and how things have changed in that time - when we started looking at the arches, we were still basking join the glory of the 2012 London Olympics!

The journey has been a fascinating one, starting with original ideas around a music venue and supporting spaces (ironic bearing in mind where we've ended up!). Network Rail decided to take the arches back at the end of the original lease, carry out a base build refurbishment scheme and resolve historic issues with some of the listed buildings on the site. While that project was underway, with our client Benj Scrimgeour, we started looking at various uses for different arches, including (at various times over the next two years), a dance school, rehearsal spaces for West End shows, a bakery school, large single occupier restaurants and now the eclectic mix of artisan kitchens, fixed restaurants and the entertainment venue Omeara London.

We've completed our first out-of-the-ground new building (the courtyard block at Omeara), we've acoustically isolated the venue from the railway overhead, completed numerous planning applications and the great thing is that unlike the majority of our corporate projects, Joe Public gets to see and experience the spaces - truly wonderful!

Friday lunchtime on the Low Line 

Friday lunchtime on the Low Line