The workplace and interior design consultancy Wylde IA has announced the Bath and Somerset winners of this year’s Happiest Workplace competition.
Bath-based eyewear design house INSPECS was crowned overall 2018 competition winner, while Wessex Water scooped the award in the large business category.
Energy provider Pure Planet was awarded medium business winner and this year’s Somerset winner was Pukka Herbs. The winners received their awards at a ceremony hosted at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, attended by staff from shortlisted finalists.
Maxine Bennett, director, Wylde IA said: “Yet again the standard of entries has far exceeded our expectations. Somerset is full of exciting, vibrant companies prioritising staff happiness and wellbeing which is wonderful to see.
“This year, in particular, we’ve seen a genuine emphasis on mental health awareness and support running alongside the more typical rewards, benefits and work-life balance focus.”
INSPECS wowed judges with their stylish, creative open space which reflects the company’s working style and philosophy – a non-traditional office which feels peaceful, calm and harmonious with a buzz of creativity, chatter and warmth.
The team is close knit with a strong family feel, full of friends who have worked together for many years.
Staff enjoy regular social events, gifts, flexible working, a generous holiday allowance and pension scheme. The company operates a flat structure where everyone is encouraged to step forward with ideas and contribute towards the success of the company.
INSPECS CEO Robin Totterman said: “INSPECS is thrilled that our company’s workspace philosophy has been recognised by Wylde IA as giving us ‘the happiness advantage’ – thank you!
“Very simply we wanted our workspace to be a good place to be – a lifestyle-friendly location, a colourful space to be creative, a clear space to think, and a friendly space to work together. We know that happy, healthy people produce better work and stay with us longer.
“Our offices in Bath are based in the city’s old Gas Light and Coke building, which delivered energy and light to Bath over a century ago.
“Today this industrial setting gives the INSPECS team generous space and light to create and sell our fashion eyewear collections all around the world.”
Competition judges were also impressed with Wessex Water’s People Programme initiative where staff wellbeing is a top priority, with 30 employees having been trained as mental health first aiders.
Marilyn Smith, director of corporate affairs at Wessex Water, said: “We’re delighted to have won this award. We have initiatives, such as Going the Extra Mile (GEM) that acknowledges staff when they have gone above and beyond, and a wellbeing programme that supports colleagues.
“We have generated awareness about mental health so we can better support customers who need that extra care and also to look out for colleagues.
“We now have mental health first aiders throughout the company and a video, which we produced in-house to show what signs to look out for, is used by other businesses and seen as best practice having been watched by around 100,000 people.”
Energy provider Pure Planet have created a bright and cheerful open plan office with a real buzz of energy and productivity. Staff enjoy flexibility in work schedules to allow time for self-care.
Benefits include unlimited holiday, equal parental leave, an ethical pension scheme, health insurance and a green car scheme.
Steven Day, co-founder, Pure Planet said: “We’re thrilled to be recognised for our workplace culture. We’re dedicated to making Pure Planet a special place to be, a company of effervescent people with purpose, a place where our team relishes working together for the benefit of our renewable energy members.”
Pukka Herbs’ HQ, the Herb House, stood out for its beautifully decorated spaces full of plants and natural light. Staff can make use of the many ‘think’ and ‘phone’ pods for privacy and concentration, a large kitchen designed for socialising, a tech free retreat and yoga space.
The company organises weekly ‘nourish’ lunches every Wednesday where colleagues share homemade soup with fellow colleagues. Staff can also make use of a Learning Academy – an online learning portal providing hundreds of courses plus a personal development fund of £600.
Tim Westwell, Pukka Herbs said: “We have been on an exciting journey with Pukka, from setting up in my spare bedroom in 2001 to moving into the third floor of the Keynsham-based Chocolate Factory – now our HQ (the Herb House) – earlier this year.
“We took over 5 years to find the most appropriate space for our Herb House, which is now home to over 100 Pukka people and reflects our love of the beauty and symmetry of nature, whilst being versatile enough to allow for different working styles, using standing desks and sound proof ‘think pods’.
“Many of our current team have been with Pukka during the search and it’s a testament to their patience, passion and determination that we now find ourselves Happiest Workplace winners – we couldn’t be happier.”