BUSINESS leaders are looking for a working environment that protects their employees’ health and wellbeing, according to leading figures at Ward Hadaway, the law firm behind the Yorkshire Fastest 50 awards.
The Fastest 50 awards, which celebrate the rising stars of Yorkshire’s business community, have become one of the biggest events in the corporate calendar since they were launched by Ward Hadaway and The Yorkshire Post in 2011.
Many of the entrepreneurs who have featured on the Fastest 50 list have created workplaces that boost morale by offering more than just a great view.
The former site of Leeds Central station has been transformed by the developer and asset manager, MEPC, into a new business quarter, Wellington Place. Wellington Place is home to Ward Hadaway’s Yorkshire HQ, and a number of major businesses including Sky Betting and Gaming, Willis Towers Watson, Equifax and Mazars.
A spokesman said: “Ward Hadaway’s property team has been on a similar trajectory, starting with just two lawyers and growing to a 25-strong team.
The department has also got eyes on the future, having recruitedn six people into the team over the past 12 months, with plans for further expansion in the pipeline.”
Kevin Weston, a property partner at Ward Hadaway, said: “It’s important to put our money where our mouth is when it comes to championing the best of commercial property in Leeds, which is why we selected the very best development in the city for our Yorkshire office.
“It has been great to see the property side of our business grow from a team of two of us, to where we are now.”
Property partner, Andrew Pliener, added: “Wellington Place is very much seen as the optimum location and the heart of Leeds’ business district, so it’s important to be based here as it’s a reflection on our commitment to promote the city.”
“Although the prominent position and modern architectural finishes have played a big part, there’s much more than aesthetics when it comes to choosing where to do business.”
Andrew Weaver, CEO of Strata Homes Ltd, a former Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 company, said “Employers now recognise the responsibility they have to provide a positive working environment and its benefits to health and wellbeing.
He added: “Modern office design has to embody company values and provide distinct areas for collaboration, engagement and reflection.
“We have been in our office for more than 15 years and much has changed during that period.
“We sold our contracting business in 2009, making us focused on residential housing, so much has changed in the way people work and interact.
“The office is set over three floors and we were keen to ensure that everybody has the benefit of lakeside views, and the blurring of the lines between departments makes them more cohesive. Each of the three floors has a very distinct atmosphere.
“The top floor is very much ‘the cool kids; in a designer’s loft; the middle floor is more contemplative as it is the source of all our data and feedback from our developments, and the ground floor is an integrated floor of deliver.
Mr Weaver added: “We are probably most proud of the first impression that our reception gives.
“It’s a hybrid between boutique hotel and recording studio.
“What it certainly does is make people very much aware that our expectations are high we’re doing our best to make a difference.”
The Ward Hadaway Yorkshire Fastest 50 identifies the privately-owned, profit-making companies which have seen the biggest annual expansion in their turnover in recent years.
This process will create a definitive list of the 50 fastest-growing companies in Yorkshire which will be published next week.
On March 22, at an event at Aspire in Leeds, awards will be handed out to the fastest-growing small, medium-sized and large businesse.
One of these winners will then receive the accolade of being crowned Yorkshire’s overall fastest growing business.