Inside EVORA’s Offices

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.

EVORA embarks on a mission to NYC

I’m excited to be leading a team as EVORA embarks on a mission to NYC to meet familiar faces and understand more about the key issues and challenges they are facing in the US market. We’ve had a tremendous reception and a full schedule of meetings. It’s not all about numbers, but we’ll be catching up with more than half of the top 30 investors in North America by AUM, representing $1tr of real assets. This number, more than anything, highlights the scale of investment risk if real assets fail to stay relevant in their market over the long term. Now more than ever, staying relevant must include plans and progress on climate mitigation and adaption as climate action has moved from the periphery to the core for leading investors.

In terms of market uncertainty, real assets have historically provided a safe haven. We expect more capital to flow into US real assets over the coming year. As the climate change clock ticks away, we are focusing in on how to choose and make assets that are climate resilient. With the SEC proposing new rules to make climate risks more transparent it will only be a matter of time before these risks are priced in, whether those are transition, adaptation or litigation risks.

We launched EVORA 11 years ago in turbulent economic times as a result of the financial crisis. Fast forward to the current day, we are seeing different but equally challenging economic times across the world. A key difference now is the urgent need for good advice – and data – as a result of the heightened climate crisis. For EVORA, directing capital to more sustainable outcomes for the wellbeing of the planet and its people has always been central to our purpose.   We’re excited about the next step in our evolution and the warm reception we’ve had from the USA.

Plant Power Month

We celebrated Plant Power Month in April, inspired by National Gardening Week (27th April to 5th May). We spent the month taking cuttings of plants, growing vegetables, making seed bombs, and taking pictures of our plants.

Plant Power Month was a great success. We loved seeing EVORians posting their green babies on the Wellbeing channel on Teams and sharing how their plant projects at home were doing.

As well as providing oxygen, plants can also lower stress and anxiety, reduce fatigue, and improve your mood. Plus it’s loads of fun watching them grow! No matter the space you have, there is always an opportunity to get green-fingered. From vegetable cuttings to windowsill plants, you can get your daily dose of vitamin green, which has a huge impact on your mental health, wellbeing and on your step counter.

See below for what we did in the office!

Eco-Grow Set

We kicked off the month by sending out eco-grow kits to ten volunteers. These included ‘a taste of Italy’, ‘vibrant vegetables’ and ‘herb a’licious’. The seeds take some time to get going, so we won’t know for a while yet who has grown the best vegetable or herbs from the kits. We loved that the kits were eco-friendly too.

Vegetables in the office

We decided to show everyone how easy it is to ‘recycle’ the vegetables and fruit stones that we would normally not think twice about composting. It was great seeing how these scraps could get a second lease of life and it felt amazing doing it.

Our office garden included spring onions, garlic, basil, mint, celery, chilli seeds, and avocado seeds. After 5 weeks, our garlic has shot up to 55cm and our chilli seeds a much smaller inch of growth.

We are super impressed by the growth of all the vegetables and herbs, and delighted with how far they’ve come in such a small amount of time.

After posting about our avocado seeds, we found out that one of our team has been growing avocado plants for over ten years, which look amazing and so big! Definitely worth the wait and the patience that goes into growing them.

Seed Bomb Workshop

A huge thank you to the ladies of Wilder for leading a Seed Bomb Workshop in our London office. We had 12 staff come along to learn how to make seed bombs and spend the hour creating and wrapping them.

Seed bombs, or ‘earth dumplings’ were used in guerrilla gardening in the 1970’s, but go back hundreds of years in Japanese agriculture. They are a great way of spreading seeds in a large area that are protected from birds by the clay outer shell. Once it rains, the clay dissolves and the seeds, which by this point has already germinated, are safe from birds and well on their way to growing up.

As well as helping with wellbeing, the seed bomb workshop felt like a great team bonding experience. Everyone was getting their hands dirty and talking shop. With the busy season ahead for a lot of us, it was great that everyone could come together and switch off.

Plant Cuttings

To end the month, we planted everything that we had grown or taken cuttings from. We felt like proud mamas when our little seeds and cuttings that we had tended to the whole month were big enough to be potted and sent home with new mamas and papas. We couldn’t believe how many pots we could fill with cuttings!

We’ve really enjoyed getting our hands dirty for Plant Power Month and would highly recommend others to get out in nature and see what they can grow at home. We’ve proved you don’t need a lot of space and that with enough patience you can surprise yourself with what you can grow.