We are preparing to issue our first annual company report early next year (2023), and as per our usual advice, this will be structured under the 3 pillars of sustainability; environment, social and economics. Under the social pillar, we wanted to share our progress and impact on a key driver of our work: people. We put people at the centre of what we do, and this is the case in both internal and project-based considerations.
On projects, we have been able to drive User Profiles on some key projects where they were not going to be created. It has provided the ability to clearly show what occupants’ drivers and needs are in the process of design and performance. We have also been invited this year to lead on a significant size and number of interior design projects for corporates of various sectors due to our expertise. We are delighted to see the recognition and increased number of projects coming to us because of our people-centric design approach.
In internal considerations, we maintain the same standards and believe inherently that people are what create success for our business. If people are supported and allowed to be themselves, and there is good communication around the team, wellbeing is enabled. In fact, when we considered skipping the wellbeing and social impact of our company’s annual report, one of our team, Maria Pedro, thought this was a mistake and we should include it as it is a key feature of GI. So we asked her to speak about her experience openly and how staff comfort and wellbeing are supported now, and can be supported further going forwards.
Here is what Maria would like to share:
“Work-life balance as a concept seems hard to achieve, but if we become aware of how different actions make us feel, we can put them into practice to help us reach this balance.
During the pandemic, we no longer needed to physically be at a certain location at a certain time, and the time that we previously dedicated to our social and personal life became easily neglected. This led to a lot of people losing this balance and highlighted the impact that preserving all life dimensions can have on our sense of contentment. This period also highlighted the importance of flexibility at work, which hybrid/remote working and flexi-hour arrangements demonstrated.
Work-life balance is a subjective matter, and as each person has different needs, which are conditioned by their life stages, these can hinder their capacity to professionally contribute to society if pre-pandemic work setting norms are still followed. This is particularly relevant for women that, unfortunately, still nowadays put off their careers as they enter motherhood. Therefore, if we don’t want to have such a loss in valued labour, the work environment should accommodate this need for flexibility.
This is a part of Grigoriou Interiors’ DNA, with almost half of the team working from different places around the world and the ones based in the UK having the possibility of working from home or the office, all working with customised flexi-hour arrangements. This does not in any way hinder the quality or productivity of the work we do, in fact, it improves it as we are able to show up at work rested and more able to produce meaningful work. This flexibility has allowed me to return to Portugal and finally be next to my family and friends after 6 years of living in the UK. My quality of life has improved massively, and I feel I am finally on the right path to create the work-life balance that works for me.”
As a manager, here are Elina’s thoughts on flexi work location and hours:
“I read what Maria has added above and feel we are on the right track as an evolving work culture. The proof is in the pudding as they say, when Maria worked from her ancestral village in the autumn where she went to support the family’s grape harvest, she was happy and productive when she returned to her desk between grape ‘squashing’! It felt great to know such a combination could be achieved and that it can remove the stress caused at times when we need to choose between work and family support.”