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When companies talk of putting staff wellbeing at the heart of their thinking, actions speak louder than words.
And few companies better illustrate this than Solihull-based Phoebus Software Ltd(PSL), which recently moved to a new 15,000 sq ft office at Lansdowne Gate in the town centre.
Every inch of the office was designed with staff and productivity in mind and to encourage collaborative and flexible ways of thinking.
Wellbeing was central to the new site and a team of staff took over six months to design the offices to get everything ‘just right’ and help bridge the gap between work-life balance.
The colourful new office features a wellbeing room, which creates a calm area for staff to pray, read, do yoga or play the office guitar, and a games room where staff can relax or play table tennis.
Work areas include both traditional desks and taller ones for staff who prefer to work standing up and every member of staff is offered free gym membership. PSL also provides a calendar of wellbeing events that range from lifestyle coaching to guitar lessons.
Formed in 1989, Phoebus Software is a market leading provider of agile technologies to the loan servicing, banking and lending sectors within the UK and Ireland.
Originally developed as the platform for a high-volume, multi-currency merchant bank in London, PSL’s technology is now used by over 25 lenders, banks, building societies and third party administrators, servicing circa £30 billion of assets in the UK and over 1 million customer accounts.
Modules include originations and servicing capabilities for residential mortgages (including equity release), secured loans, commercial lending, development finance, unsecured lending, asset finance, bridging and deposits.
The office move was made necessary by a growth in staff numbers to over 100 and the new space will accommodate both existing employees and several new joiners over the coming years.
Paul Hunt, managing director of PSL, says the company sees corporate social responsibility as ‘multi-dimensional’ and this applies to charity support, environmental targets and staff wellbeing.
“For PSL corporate and social responsibility is multi-dimensional. It is not about just donating to one charity, but participating in projects both in the local community and on a global level,” he said.
“Phoebus Software goes much further than just providing funds for charities, it also provides guidance, mentoring and work experience.
“PSL also cares about the environment and retained its Carbon Zero Company status in September having offset its annual carbon emissions for six years now.
“Arguably most important of all, it puts its staff first. The wellbeing of staff is at the heart of PSL and its team of directors who are dedicated to creating an environment to promote a state of contentment which allows every employee at PSL to flourish and achieve their full potential.”
During 2015, PSL raised over £1,300 in support of Alzheimers’ Research UK through various fundraising activities. In 2016 PSL supported Solihull charity St Basil’s, which helps those aged between 16-25 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Staff took on the Great Birmingham 10K, Two Castles Run and Great Birmingham Run half-marathon to help the fundraising.
Another new charity for PSL is Tappy Twins, an in-school, online and telephone support organisation for children in need. It teaches children how to use energy therapies for emotional healing, personal development and to gain powerful relief from the physical and emotional stresses of everyday life.
PSL supports an international charity called Kiva. Kiva is a not-for-profit organisation which helps to alleviate poverty by providing small loans to people to help them improve their environment. It encourages people in developing parts of the world to access finance to start or develop their own business ventures to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
PSL donated £10,000 and started with an initial nine loans which were all successfully paid back.
The company is also part of a Knowledge Partnership Scheme with Aston University. As part of this, staff from PSL mentor some of the students and provide them with work experience.
“Being a part of the KPT scheme with Phoebus enables graduates to apply their degree, start a 'real' job straight away and gain further professional qualifications,” adds Paul.
PSL takes its impact on the wider environment ‘very seriously’, Paul explains.
“We reduce carbon emissions wherever possible, but because it is impossible to wipe them out completely we offset carbon emissions via the CO2 Balances Kenyan Energy Efficient Cook Stove Project, making us a Carbon Zero company,” he says.
“Finally, our purchasing strategy for equipment is to acquire only the most energy efficient equipment in every category.
“Toner cartridges are refilled to reduce consumables and waste while any waste produced is sent to a recycling facility where is sorted and graded. Food waste is used for composting and all plastics, glass, metals, paper and cardboard are recycled. During 2016 88% of the waste Phoebus produced was recycled.”