In 2021, we decided to move our London Head Office to somewhere more aligned with our identity and values. We were looking for a space with plenty of natural lighting, good ventilation and air quality system. We put together a focus group, the ENO (EVORA New Office) Group, which involved people from different locations globally, to go through office options, valuing the whole team’s opinions and input. That’s how we chose Birrane House in London Bridge where we moved in January 2022.
We are very proud of our new office, which is a bigger and better space, well-lit with larger desks, as well as a great break-out room for lunches and socials. The air conditioning unit also allows for ventilation of clean air, so we can keep an eye on our air quality and carbon dioxide levels regularly – 83% of our London office rate the air quality at four or five out of five!
It’s so important to check CO2 levels, as this can have a huge effect on everyone in the office – studies have shown that poor air quality can affect you short term, such as headaches, fatigue, irritation of the eyes and throat, and even allergic reactions. Long term effects can include sinus infections and even respiratory issues.
As well as looking after the physical health of everyone in the office, we want to ensure that we are on track to get Planet Mark certification for the 9th year in a row! Our new London office is optimised to achieve this, with lights automatically turning off without activity, excellent insulation and double glazing.
Now that we’ve been in Birrane House a few months, and people are feeling settled, we wanted to know what everyone felt about the office. This is in keeping with our values, as we believe in inclusion, collaboration and respect as three of the fundamentals of our company.
We sent out a survey primarily to see how the new Head Office was working for people and to understand what could be improved, but also took the opportunity to check in with EVORians in our other offices and those working from home to make our workplace better. This really helped build up a larger picture of how everyone at EVORA is doing and to prioritise the next steps in all our locations.
We had 95 responses, 53 of them were from London. It was great to see that overall the average rating people gave the new London office was 4.3 out of 5!
We were delighted to see that a lot of the ideas that came up are either already in progress or even available now, such as the socials that the Social Committee are organising. We just had a Pizza and Games night that was a huge success. This was in London, Bolton, Iasi and Berlin! There were tactical games, quick-fire games, and classic quiz games – something for everyone to play. There was also great feedback on the Coffee Roulette and Language Exchange initiatives that we have, with an overwhelming response that this is what people enjoy doing.
Coffee Roulette is where two people get paired up each month and between themselves arrange a half hour sit down, either in person or via Teams. As people are paired up randomly, it gives everyone an opportunity to meet others in the company who they may have never spoken to before.
The Language Exchange is a more recent initiative whereby staff who speak other languages are put into groups with a native or fluent speaker and can practise their language skills. As well as helping EVORians improve their understanding of foreign languages, many groups who would never have normally met did so during their regular working day.
Regarding the office itself, EVORians love the location and proximity to Borough Market, as well as the brightness and the size of the office; in the survey, 89.2% rated the lighting in the office at four or five out of five. We saw from the survey results that most people would like us to look into noise-cancelling equipment, on top of the noise-cancelling headphones already provided. It is now on the EVORA’s to-do list to look into sound absorbers or individual soundproof meeting booths.
A great idea that came from the survey was adding social time at the beginning of meetings, where we can do a fun poll, such as which superpower would you have, and to give people time to catch up before jumping into the meeting. At EVORA, we truly love all ideas that get everyone involved, no matter where they are located.
One thing that is being globally felt is the changing nature of the use of the office. The traditional office set-up is no longer the best fit in a post-Covid world, where working from home has proved to be successful and productive. Even if around 90% of EVORians come in for a maximum of two days per week currently, 91% of us feel part of the team. What this means for our offices is yet to be seen, but could result in a renovation or reorganisation of the office into more collaboration spaces and fewer desks. Watch this space!
We can’t wait to make some more positive changes to our offices, making a comfortable and welcoming space for all EVORians to work.