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Google-style workplace uncovered

28 October 2014 Elyse Perrau

A leading property management software company has shared its staff retention secrets and workplace set-up success, which includes “snooze rooms”, electronic sit-stand desks and gym memberships.

A leading property management software company has shared its staff retention secrets and workplace set-up success, which includes “snooze rooms”, electronic sit-stand desks and gym memberships.

Speaking exclusively to Residential Property Manager, Rockend chief executive Alister Maple-Brown said he receives a lot of positive comments from people that visit their offices.

“There is a good vibe, people are happy to be here, and there are smiles on their faces,” he said.

“It is our responsibility to make a great work environment because we spend a lot of time at work.

“My goal is really to create an environment that is an extension of one’s home, that is comfortable, that has food and has access to the gym,” he added.

Rockend HR manager Dean Carpenter said having “snooze rooms” was a brainchild of Mr Maple-Brown.

“It’s taken us a little while to get it implemented, but we are now at the stage where it will be released later this week,” he told Residential Property Manager.

“It really comes back to research around taking those short breaks throughout the day – [giving them] that time out in a dark room just to switch off.

“It only needs to be about 10 minutes at a time – that means in two rooms we can get a dozen people in over lunchtime who want to lock out the noise and the lights and close their eyes and have a quick snooze.

“As an employer we have to do everything possible to retain the great people that we have, and environment is a big part of that,” he added.

Mr Carpenter said roughly a quarter of their work desks are electronic sitting-to-standing desks.

“Basically what that means is at a push of a button, you can stand up and raise the desk height to an appropriate level for yourself,” he said.

“There has been a lot of research recently, especially on the effect sitting down the entire work day has on your body.”

Mr Carpenter warns that having sit-stand desks is approximately three times the cost of a standard desk.

“For that reason it would be prohibitive for most businesses to install them for the whole office,” he said.

“But to be able to install some as a proportion of the office and share them all, that seems to be working for us.”

Mr Carpenter said it is Rockend’s focus on well-being that has been most well-received.

“The home doctor service is an after-hours GP service that is available for all our employees as part of our employee’s assistance program,” he said.

“Basically what it means is if you become ill overnight, or one of your kids gets sick overnight, rather than having to wait until the following work day to get into a GP, you call up the home doctor service and it is usually about two hours before someone arrives. 

“Staff also have access to the gym next door and it is a relatively low cost for us; I think there are 15 passes,” he added. 

Google-style workplace uncovered
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