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Unearthing the secrets of London’s Best Big Company to Work For
1 June 2021
What makes somewhere a great place to work? After more than three years at the helm of our UK and Ireland business I’ve seen the impact of change first-hand. From the evolution in working patterns to the increasing importance of sustainability and climate response — and of course navigating the challenges of a global pandemic — the world of work is changing. Yet for us, the one constant has been listening to and responding to the needs of our people.
Arcadis being named Best Big Company to Work For in London — and among the top three nationally — was a huge cause for celebration. The ranking is based solely on the views of employees, and I’m proud that we’ve built a business where people genuinely feel they can thrive. It is this ‘people first’ approach that underpins everything we do, and to see this recognised at such a prestigious national level was a fantastic achievement.
What does a People First approach mean in practice?
At Arcadis, we’re committed to creating a positive environment for our people to be their best. From training and mentorship to the opportunity to work on some of the UK’s most iconic projects — and in London this includes everything from HS2 and London Bridge Station, to the Lower Thames Crossing, redevelopment of Tottenham Hotspur’s football stadium and even working with the Met Police on their Electric Vehicle strategy – we aim to equip our people with the skills and confidence to truly make a difference to people’s lives.
But the secret of a great company to work for goes well beyond this. Culture and values have a huge part to play, and while the last 12 months haven’t been easy for anyone, we have long prioritised mental and physical health, stressing the importance of a balanced work and home life. This is something that nearly 80% of our people told us was important, and as such we’ve made flexible working, and importantly ‘choice’, a core pillar of our strategy moving forward.
Our approach to Workscape
This month we’ll be moving into new offices at 80 Fenchurch Street, in the heart of the City of London. As we shift our emphasis from ‘where’ to ‘how’ we work, 80Fen offers a unique space that has been purpose built around the needs and preferences of our people. It has more than 20 different types of workspace — ranging from open plan desks to collaborative and private workspaces, project areas, touchdown areas, call rooms and informal meeting areas.
Technology sits at the core, and we’ve developed our own Building Intelligence product to help manage the space and provide the best experience for our people and clients within it. Building Intelligence incorporates a unified suite of apps, including environment sensors, digital access, touch-free desk booking systems and the ability to control individual temperature and light settings in enclosed spaces. Not only does it help people find the right spaces for their tasks, but it means we can manage better capacity (which is particularly pertinent in a post-COVID environment, to keep our people safe), as well as improve air quality and reduce carbon consumption.
It’s an approach that we have seen resonate with many of our clients. Based on our own learnings and experiences, we’ve been able to launch Building Intelligence as a new product to market, helping others to benefit from a digital solution that is ideally suited to today’s more dynamic and flexible workplace.
When it comes to our own people, we want to create an environment that enables everyone to work as flexibly as possible, even down to how often people want to come into the office. As part of a series of internal engagement surveys, we found that 70% of our people would prefer to visit the office between 1 – 3 days a week post-pandemic, so physical space clearly has an important role to play. But more than that, the data shows the extent to which people value flexibility and choice.
We know that an engaged workforce is happier, more motivated and more productive. When it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent, we know how important it is to provide opportunities to learn and collaborate, to support personal growth, and to recognise and reward outstanding performance.
Our ethos is all about striving to improve people’s quality of life. From the projects we deliver, to the experiences and feedback of our people, I’m delighted to see this being played out in every aspect of our business. As London’s Best Big Company to Work for, I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds.
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