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Staff Spotlight: Catching up with Chris Birchall

Here at Penketh Group, one of our greatest assets is our people and whilst the world continues the uphill climb to overcome the ongoing pandemic, we didn’t want you to miss them too much. We are still fully operational but most of the team are currently working from home as per government guidelines so we thought we’d check in with a few Staff Spotlights to give you a sneak peek behind the scenes.

In the first of the blog series, we catch up with our legendary Workplace Consultant and resident snazzy sock-wearer, Chris Birchall. We talk what he misses about office life, how he sees the modern workspace evolving and what he recommends you binge watch on Netflix this weekend…

1. Hey Chris! How’s the working from home life treating you?

A mixed bag really. Mentally, it’s been great when I’ve needed to focus on certain projects but it’s too quiet for me to want to do it all the time. Physically, early on I made the mistake of using a dining chair to sit on but I developed shoulder pain so loaned my task chair from work and that has made a huge difference. Also, my daily step count is now pathetic!

2. What are you missing most about office life (apart from having other people make your brews)?

Without doubt, the people. On the odd occasion I have actually worked in the office you really appreciate the energy other people give you, whether that’s ideas that spring from impromptu conversations or just the typical office chat and laughter that you normally take for granted.

3. What are your top tips on maintaining the work-life balance and wellbeing when WFH? 

Music on in the back ground is a must for me. Also, speak to people by phone/Teams whatever, even if it’s just a quick chat with a colleague. It will help you stay connected and you never know, they might need it more than you do. Take regular breaks from the laptop so you keep moving which will help with those aches and pains and make use of lunchtimes to get outside for a walk and some Vitamin D. Most importantly of all – stay away from the biscuit tin!

4. How do you see the modern workspace evolving in 2021 and beyond? 

I believe we will see a faster and broader adoption of what was already happening in the workplace. The agile workspace has been popular with certain business sectors for the last few years but this type of flexible strategy may apply to a wider group of businesses as they look to balance the need for less traditional workstations – but more spaces for teams to get together to be collaborative or solve problems.

Employers will want to entice their staff into the office to help nurture the culture they need to be successful and a well-designed space can support that goal. I really believe that now more and more people have had the chance to try working from home, they will appreciate the positive role the office plays in their overall wellbeing and sense of belonging. Giving choice of where and when employees can work will be something business leaders need to get right in the future.

5. Have you been binge watching anything brilliant that you would recommend us watching? 

It’s got to be the Queens Gambit on Netflix. It took my wife and I by surprise because we didn’t know anything about it so didn’t have high expectations but we really enjoyed it.

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