In a post-lockdown world, does your HQ real estate really need to remain in the largest city centres?
As the workforce of the world beds into the new rules of hybrid working between home and office, and the need to cut our corporate carbon footprint becomes increasingly urgent, the question surrounding the financial and environmental economies of a head office base has never been more pertinent.
Arguably, every company needs a base. If lockdown has taught us anything it’s that working in a silo only sustains a workforce for so long. Industry thrives and grows on the personal relationships and the nurturing of human capital that happens best in close proximity.
While it has become clear that we can do things differently, and that a flexible approach to work and life can improve efficiencies, studies have also shown that for some the social disconnect over an extended period could impact on mental wellbeing and productivity in the future – especially among those people who thrive on interacting with colleagues and clients to swap and shape ideas.
Carbon Financial Partners Ltd is one of the UK’s leading independent financial planning firms. An award-winning business with offices in various Scottish cities and a fast-expanding London presence.
Gordon Wilson, Managing Director for Carbon Financial explains his decision to base their HQ in Perth:
“The business has expanded considerably over the last decade and we now have a 40-strong office presence in Perth, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow and London to handle our clients’ financial affairs. Recently, we were casting around for new and easily accessible premises but there was never any question of moving our headquarters from Perth.
“Being so central, with easy access to the roads network, was key to our original decision to base the company in Perth. It remains a great location. We are delighted to relocate to offices in the Whitefriars Business Park, which has already attracted a number of local, regional and national businesses.”
Operations Director for the company, Shireen Fernie (right), commented, “People don’t miss the commute, but they have felt the loss of working relationships and external stimuli. It’s the chance conversations, listening to different people with different experiences, the exposure to new ideas and the small snippets of information we pick up as part of the working day that we have missed acutely. Covid has shown that it’s time to embrace a new, hybrid model that works for everyone.”
One solution that could satisfy all parties is to reconsider the location of a business’s head office. Traditionally, headquarters are based in large urban centres, usually at the end of a stressful commute for management and workers.
As businesses look to re-evaluate which components of their operation are necessary to produce a healthy bottom line and a happy, productive workforce, the age-old question of location, location, location has been pushed under the microscope. The question now is: are you really in the best place you could be?